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China, Climate Change, Credibility: Why It’s (Finally) Time for the US to Join the Law of the Sea Convention

Posted on Friday 9/24/2021
Mark P. Nevitt

By Professor Mark Nevitt

(Just Security | Sept. 23, 2021) With the world’s most powerful Navy and largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the United States is arguably the leading maritime nation. Yet the United States has failed to join the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the “Constitution of the Oceans” that codifies key principles for freedom of navigation, rule of law, and environmental issues for more than 70 percent of the earth. Since it opened for signature in 1982, a vocal minority of strident senators have thwarted U.S. ratification. Nevertheless, UNCLOS accession enjoys the support of a remarkably diverse coalition of American military, environmental, and industry leaders. As the United States resets its global agenda, it’s finally time to join the Law of the Sea Convention.

Indeed, the recent U.S. submarine deal with Australia highlights the importance of UNCLOS. As these nuclear submarines are built and delivered, they will serve as a counterweight to China’s excessive maritime claims, and uphold maritime rule of law and freedom of navigation – as enshrined in the law of the sea.

Today, 167 states and the European Union have joined UNCLOS, a testament to the treaty’s status and broad international acceptance. The U.S. absence at the table is more perplexing than ever, considering the emergence of three issues that will define international maritime governance in the 21st century. I label these issues the “Three Cs of Law of the Sea” – (1) China, (2) climate change, and (3) credibility. These three issues are coming into clearer focus as the United States resets its foreign policy and security posture after the post-9/11 era.

1. China. China’s maritime claims over an enormous swath of the South China Sea, based on an anachronistic “Nine-Dash Line,” are well-known. China invests enormous resources in building up contested “rocks” and “low tide elevations” into artificial islands. These excessive maritime claims are antithetical to core law-of-the-sea navigational provisions, maritime delineations, and sovereignty claims. This view was reaffirmed in the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) decision in Philippines v. China, a resounding defeat for China’s legal claims in the region. But China dismissed the PCA’s ruling, arguing that the international tribunal lacked jurisdiction over the matter. The United States is quick to point out that China agreed to submit to the PCA’s jurisdiction in accordance with Article 287 of the convention. China brushes aside any such criticism, noting the U.S. status as a non-party. Meanwhile, China’s South China Sea buildup continues apace, and China has refused to back down from its claims.

Earlier this month, a U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS BENFOLD, conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation in the South China Sea, challenging China’s maritime claims at Mischief Reef. And China recently took another step in its maritime brazenness by updating its 1983 “Maritime Traffic Safety Law.” This revision requires foreign vessels “to inform maritime authorities, carry relevant permits and submit to China’s command and supervision.”  This law applies to all Chinese territory, both inside and outside the South China Sea.

While it remains to be seen how this traffic safety law will be implemented, it is inconsistent with core navigational principles codified in UNCLOS. And the South China Sea could serve as a proxy for a larger conflict between the United States and China, a point chillingly made in the recent, bestselling novel “2034” by Admiral (ret.) James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman. Indeed, while the United States was fighting wars in the Middle East, China developed the largest navy in the world by size, with a force of 350 ships and submarines (the U.S. has 293).

U.S. accession to UNCLOS will not “solve” the South China Sea crisis, but doing so reaffirms the U.S. commitment to freedom of navigation in the region and positions the United States to meet the strategic competition with China. In accompanying U.S. diplomatic protests to China’s excessive claims, the United States highlights the importance of the principles enshrined in the Law of the Sea Convention. Last year, the State Department stated that the United States “stands with the international community in defense of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty.” The obvious question:  If these maritime principles are so important, why doesn’t the United States reaffirm them by joining UNCLOS?

2. Climate change. Climate change is fundamentally reshaping the ocean’s physical environment, resulting in a host of unresolved issues. The United States has rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, but there is now a convergence of unresolved maritime and climate governance issues where U.S. leadership is needed.

Consider the Arctic, a region that is warming at two to three times the rate of the rest of the planet, opening up trade routes and the possibility for natural resource extraction. The U.S. Alaskan continental shelf claim may extend out to 600 nautical miles, but as a non-party to UNCLOS, the United States is likely prohibited from making a submission to the Continental Shelf Commission, a key UNCLOS technical body that helps determine the scope and limitation of each nation’s continental shelf. Meanwhile, every other Arctic coastal state (Canada, Denmark, Russia, Norway) has joined UNCLOS. Not surprisingly, they have all made continental shelf submissions. Russia asserts a continental shelf that borders Alaska’s and extends to the North Pole via Lomonosov Ridge. By some estimates, the extended U.S. continental shelf is the size of two California’sa source of untapped economic potential. As the United States sits on the sidelines, Russia can rejoice at the unforced error and the resulting inability of the United States to avail itself of the Continental Shelf Commission …

Read the full article.

Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 to Bloomberg: Trump Unlikely to Prevail in NYT Suit

Posted on Friday 9/24/2021
Roy Gutterman

Trump Suit Against N.Y. Times, Niece a ‘Stunt,’ Lawyer Says

(Bloomberg | Sept. 22, 2021) Donald Trump’s lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump over an award-winning investigative report on his tax avoidance -- for which she provided crucial documents -- is just the former president’s “latest stunt,” her lawyer said.

Donald Trump accused Mary Trump and the Times in the lawsuit of conspiring to breach a confidential family settlement, but it’s doomed to fail because the 2001 deal cited by the former president was tainted by fraud and therefore never valid, attorney Roberta Kaplan said on Wednesday ...

... Roy Gutterman, director of the Tully Center for Free Speech and professor at Syracuse University, said Trump is highly unlikely to win anything from the New York Times or its reporters because legal precedent provides extensive protection to news-gathering activities. That applies to things they should not have, including leaked tax records, he said ...

Read the full article.

Innovation Law Center: Guardians of Innovation

Posted on Thursday 9/23/2021
Innovation Law Center

Cloud computing has been around almost as long as the internet, but for students like Jay Morrison ’22, the possibilities of on-demand computer services are limitless. “I remember cloud storage emerging when I was younger,” says the Syracuse University senior, referring to remotely stored data accessed from any device. “It’s astonishing how important the cloud has become to the infrastructure of the internet and to the livelihood of businesses.”

A computer science major in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), Morrison recently completed a 10-week program at the Innovation Law Center (ILC) in Dineen Hall. Morrison and fellow ECS classmate Brianna Gillfillian ’24 were supported by a new grant award from the Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (SOURCE) in the Office of Research. As charter members of the SOURCE Undergraduate Research Assistants program, both students spent the summer helping ILC clients while learning the ropes of intellectual property (IP) commercialization and technology transfer.

One of their research projects involved the ILC’s IP Rights in Software guidebook. Working alongside instructors Molly Zimmermann and Dominick Danna ’67, ’71, the duo helped expand the text, which explores the role of IP protection in technology commercialization. The 28-page booklet is one of seven produced by the New York State Science and Technology Law Center (NYSSTLC), headquartered at the ILC in the College of Law. “Many of our clients are inventors and entrepreneurs,” notes ILC director Jack Rudnick L’73. “They need timely information about technology licensing, marketing and other commercialization challenges.” Thus, IP Rights in Software considers how three IP protection methods—patents, trade secrets and copyrights—maximize the commercialization potential for new software.

“The challenge is deciding whether the cost of seeking IP protection is worth the value it provides,” Morrison says. “Business owners want to know what method makes the most sense.”

ILC Meeting 2021

Creating Value, Protecting Resources

An attorney doubling as NYSSTLC’s managing director, Zimmermann says different types of IP protect different aspects of inventions. A patent, for example, excludes others from making, using, selling or importing an invention for a set time, usually 20 years. “Patents can’t protect algorithms or source code, but they can protect the new and useful process that the software implements,” she explains, adding that one can register source code with the U.S. Copyright Office. Trade secret protection, on the other hand, does not require disclosure of a software’s source code or system architecture.

“IP establishes its value by giving the owner a competitive advantage over others working in the same space,” continues Zimmermann, who specializes in IP policy and academic research issues. Each type of IP has its pros and cons, and combining these approaches, sometimes with trademarks (a fourth type of IP), is preferable. “That’s why we created the guidebook—to help people understand the ways that IP protects computer-based inventions,” says Danna, who also mentored students working on the guidebook in 2019. “Jay and Brianna are improving on what the text covers, making it more comprehensive and relevant.”

Speaking from her home in Kingston, Jamaica, Gillfillian observes that IP protection is often in a state of flux. “When I joined ILC, I didn’t know much about technology law. Now I feel like I understand the different ways that technology can be protected,” says the computer science major, who hopes to someday design her own protection software. “I also have learned about the importance of teamwork and faculty-guided research.”

She and Morrison came across ILC’s summer program on Handshake, an app that matches college students with jobs, internships and other opportunities. For Gillfillian, ILC has nurtured her passion for scholarly research. “We’re moving into a more technologically sophisticated era. Understanding the correlation between legal statutes and computer innovations will benefit my career,” she says.

Blending Law, Business, and Technology

Founded more than 30 years ago, ILC was the nation’s first program to apply scholarly legal analysis and experiential education to technology commercialization. Students of all stripes—notably ones in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management—regularly vie for spots in the center’s experiential learning programs.

Cecily Capo, a second-year law student, partners with many of ILC’s 30-plus clients. “Getting hands-on experience with real technologies and real clients is something most law schools don’t offer,” says the former toxicology consultant. “Having this immersive experience has taught me about real-world application in law.”

In addition to helping Morrison and Gillfillian with their respective projects (including a joint one for Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York), Capo has proven her mettle as an ILC research associate. She recently advised a startup that makes applications for wireless charging as well as a client that provides soil-testing kits to farmers and home gardeners. “Not even first-year associates at most law firms get to interact with clients in this way,” she says. “ILC helps you try out an area of law that you’re interested in.”

Owing largely to Rudnick, ILC has evolved into a year-round, multiservice resource. He attributes the success of its summer program to grants from Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Central New York Biotech Accelerator, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the GENIUS NY business accelerator, Launch NY and other local and state organizations. “Now that the SOURCE has joined our list of partners, we can provide more opportunities for undergraduates like Brianna and Jay,” says Rudnick, adding that each ILC student completes three to five research projects per summer.

Among the perks of working at ILC is getting hands-on training in legal and market research. “The experience is invaluable for anyone wanting to work for a technology-based company or an IP management firm,” says Danna, NYSSTLC’s commercialization expert, who also is an adjunct professor in the College of Law and an award-winning electrical engineer. “ILC students invariably become proficient in business and technical writing.”

Morrison agrees, adding that ILC’s summer program has enriched their and Gillfillian’s communication chops: “ILC has taught us that we can accomplish more as a group than as individuals. In the process, we find new ways to create value.”


Syracuse Law Introduces New Cultural Competency Curriculum

Posted on Tuesday 9/21/2021
Syracuse University College of Law

In May 2021, Syracuse University College of Law faculty voted to require that—beginning with the 1L class entering in Fall 2021—all J.D. students take a course addressing themes and materials of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the second or third year of law school. The aim of this Cultural Competency Curriculum requirement is to help students develop awareness of the ways identity, difference, culture, and explicit or implicit bias can condition and constrain the pursuit of equal justice under law.

"Law students must be prepared to practice in a diverse society so that they can become the best legal professionals possible in whatever legal capacities they serve in diverse local, national, and global communities," explains Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion Suzette Meléndez. "By incorporating the Cultural Competency Curriculum into their course of study, law students will learn to meet the legal needs of all clients who have diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives."

Syracuse law students will spend substantial time engaging in coursework that features substantive content relating to inequality, discrimination, cultural context, or cultural competency. By way of this requirement, law students also will learn that legal professionals have the obligation to ensure that the rule of law applies equally to all persons.

Students will be able to complete the two-credit requirement by any one of three approaches, which can include existing College of Law courses that are designated as focusing on DEI areas, case studies or modules beginning in orientation, or a new cultural competency course. Implementation will begin with the incoming JD residential Class of 2024, and it will apply to the JDinteractive online law program class that begins in the Fall of 2022.

Upon receiving the charge by Dean Craig M. Boise, the Curriculum Committee, chaired by Professor Paula Johnson, and the Committee on Inclusion Initiatives, chaired by Associate Dean Meléndez, worked collaboratively to develop the DEI requirement.

"This project involved all segments of the College of Law community—faculty, staff, and students—to meet our institutional responsibility to better prepare our students to serve society in legal capacities," says Johnson. "This means that our College is dedicated to doing the hard work, asking the hard questions, and engaging in problem solving to assure fairness and access to justice for communities throughout our society."

“The cultural competency requirement will provide students understanding of the critical importance of exercising fairness and equality in the legal system," says 3L Mazaher Kaila, Executive President, Student Bar Association. "Students will benefit in numerous ways, with a greater awareness of implicit or unconscious bias, cultural respect, and the ability to see different perspectives. Such a requirement will truly guide students toward effective advocacy for people of all races, genders, sexual orientation, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds."

The extensive work that resulted in this new graduation requirement has been followed by a 1L DEI Summer 2021 Initiative, explains Meléndez. College of Law faculty who teach first-year students have been working and meeting over summer 2021 to determine how DEI themes and material can be woven into the existing 1L curriculum.

"This work is a collaborative and innovative endeavor engaged in by many that reaches into each one of the courses taught for our first-year students, and they will be introduced to such topics and pedagogical approaches during orientation," says Meléndez. "The results of the summer initiative will be implemented in the 2021-2022 academic year and will culminate in an evaluative meeting at the end of each course that has engaged in this process."

Professor Peter Blanck Helps USA Today with Mask, Vaccine Exemption Explainer

Posted on Monday 9/20/2021
Peter Blanck

Fact Check: Neither ADA nor Civil Rights Act Offer a Blanket Exemption to Mask, Vaccine Requirements

(USA Today | Sept. 14, 2021) The claim: Disability and civil rights laws protect the right to shop without a mask or proof of vaccination

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic critics of mask and vaccination requirements have falsely claimed several laws exempted them from generally applied health protocols.

The latest claim uses a misguided interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to encourage others not to comply with businesses that require face coverings or proof of vaccination upon entry ...

Legal experts say ADA does not exempt individuals from following public health guidelines

Several disability law experts told USA Today the card misrepresents the ADA and has no legal basis for the assertions it makes.

“This is a bogus card that has no authority,” said Peter Blanck, a professor of disability and social policy at Syracuse University. “There is no blanket card that would protect anyone from following a mask mandate or showing proof of vaccination” ...

Read the full article.

How Online Education Adds Value: Professor Nina Kohn Discusses with National Jurist

Posted on Friday 9/17/2021
Nina Kohn

St. Mary’s to break new ground with fully online J.D. program

(National Jurist | Sept. 15, 2021) ... Some online education experts have concerns regarding asynchronous learning, feeling it can be less engaging if not done properly. However, it offers greater flexibility as students can access the lectures when they want to. They can also watch the lectures repeatedly. But it does not offer give-and-take opportunities in real time.

“A key benefit of live class sessions is that students get to practice the very skills they need to succeed as lawyers — including listening to others, responding to what others say, following a line of argumentation as it organically unfolds, and analyzing issues in real time,” said Nina Kohn, director of online education at Syracuse University College of Law, which offers a hybrid J.D. program.

In Syracuse’s program, at least half of each online course is synchronous, she noted.

Online education is seen as a way to offer nontraditional students the chance to get their law degrees. People caring for children or other family members can do so, as can those who don’t live near a law school.

“I regularly have students tell me that attending law school was a life dream, but one that really was not possible for them before our program, because given their personal circumstances, they couldn’t take regular, live classes in a non-online format,” Kohn said ...

Read the full article.

Higher Hopes? Professor Paula Johnson Assesses the Till Act for Beauregard Daily News

Posted on Tuesday 9/14/2021
Paula Johnson

"There were higher hopes": Did the FBI fail in trying to resolve civil rights cold cases?

(Beauregard Daily News (LA) | Sept. 13, 2021) A retired FBI agent was at a Christian retreat in the late 1990s when a churchgoer confided that he had witnessed a shooting of five Black men in 1960 that he believed had been racially motivated.

And when Congress started to pressure the FBI in 2007 to investigate dozens of cases involving violence by the Ku Klux Klan and other whites during the civil rights era, the retired agent told an active agent what he had heard, FBI documents say ...

... But as soon as the bureau learned that the Fuller son named by the witness also had died, its interest waned, just as it eventually did in nearly all of the other cases.

And the FBI missed questions, recently uncovered by the LSU Cold Case Project, about whether a different Fuller son who was still alive when the FBI did its work, could have been involved in what happened at Fuller’s house that day.

Asked about this, an FBI spokesperson, Tina Jagerson, responded: “We appreciate your interest in this topic; however, we do not have a comment for you.”

But Paula Johnson, co-director of the Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University College of Law, said that “in terms of criminal actions, we haven’t seen very much” resulting from the FBI’s work under the Till Act.

“There were higher hopes,” she said ...

Read the full story.

Aubre Dean L'20: Advocating for Social Justice and Committed to Service

Posted on Monday 9/13/2021
Aubre Dean L'20

During her first year at the Syracuse University College of Law, Aubre Dean L’20 was selected for a prestigious internship working for a federal district court judge. Though unsure how she would pay for a summer living in New York City, she accepted the offer. An alumni-funded grant through the Syracuse Public Interest Network in the College of Law provided the solution. 

Dean, who grew up in Texas, relished the energy in Manhattan and vowed to return there to work after graduation. She also gained invaluable legal experience and met one of her role models, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

A Culture of Support

The alumni support that made her internship possible is representative of the culture that drew Dean to Syracuse University. “At Syracuse Law, there’s an emphasis not only on learning but also on giving back to the community and to those who need assistance,” she says. Dean, a first-generation college student, credits the scholarships she received for making her graduate education attainable, and the supportive atmosphere at the College of Law for helping her learn the ropes and thrive. “There were so many incredible benefits that I got from being at Syracuse that I don’t think I would have had at another law school. And I am definitely still feeling those benefits now,” she says.

Dean also appreciated how the service-oriented culture extended to community engagement. “Whether through the clinical programs, the outreach events or the pro bono work, the opportunities I had to work in the community really fit with my own belief system,” she says. Dean volunteered at the College of Law’s Veterans Legal Clinic, lending her expertise to members of the military community as they navigated complex paperwork and procedures. She also contributed to a wide range of student organizations and causes, including as class president, in a leadership role with the Women’s Law Student Association, and as a member of OutLaw, an LGBTQ law and policy student organization.

Setting the Stage for Her Career

One of the most rewarding experiences of Dean’s academic journey was competing in moot courts with the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society. In moot courts, students develop arguments based on research and legal precedent, then present their cases while facing challenges and questions from scholars and legal professionals. In these competitions, Dean tackled complex issues such as undocumented immigrants and First Amendment rights, and protections for individuals identified as LGBTQ in jury selection. Dean and her classmates Shannon Bausinger L’21 and Joseph Tantillo L’21, coached by Professor Emily Brown L’09 and David Katz L’17, won in regional competitions and joined the top 28 teams from around the country for the national competition in New York City, where they made it to octofinals.

Participating in simulated courts helped Dean clarify her long-term goals. “Gaining a greater understanding of the Constitution and the protections it affords each individual was a highlight of my academic experience at Syracuse,” Dean says.

Paying It Forward and Giving Back

At the College of Law, Dean discovered a supportive community of faculty and peers, and her passion for civil rights law.

Soon after Dean graduated, she passed the bar exam and joined Warshaw Burstein LLC, a full-service law firm in New York City. She and her partner, Erika Simonson L’19, and their two dogs moved to an apartment in midtown Manhattan, and she enjoys living in the city she fell in love with during her years at Syracuse.

Dean is now gaining litigation experience in a wide range of areas of law. She has particularly appreciated being able to assist clients with their Title VII and Title IX lawsuits, handling cases involving discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion or sex.

Another area drawing Dean’s attention is fairness and equality in the law profession itself—particularly the historical practices that make the study of law prohibitive to many who would bring diversity to the field. “I believe that, for the legal profession to become as inclusive as it can be, it needs to better reflect the communities we serve,” she says. “It’s become a goal of mine to make not only the law more accessible, but the legal profession more accessible as well.”

One way Dean is working toward this goal is through her commitment to mentoring first-year and first-generation law students. She recently sat on a panel of College of Law alumni speaking on issues of diversity in the field and on the strengths that can be drawn from the challenges of being a first-generation student. “The adaptability and grit it takes to navigate an academic environment that is wholly unfamiliar are qualities that can make you a better attorney,” she explains.

Dean attributes much of her development as an attorney to alumni who recommended professional opportunities and mentored her. “Now that I am an alum, I want to give back as much as I feel I received from the Syracuse alumni network when I was a student,” she says. “I was really supported, and I want to make sure that the current students feel that same support.”


Law Students: Sign-up for e-subscriptions to NY Times & WSJ

Posted on Friday 9/10/2021

​No charge digital subscriptions to the NY Times & WSJ are available for SU students & faculty.  See the SU Libraries guides on the NY Times and WSJ for details.

New Database Content: ProQuest Congressional & Executive

Posted on Friday 9/10/2021

ProQuest Congressional has added full-text Executive branch documents to its vast collection of congressional material.

The database now includes Executive Orders, Presidential Proclamations, and other Executive branch publications.  These materials can be retrieved along with the extensive legislative and Congressional content already available in the database.

Paul W. Reichel named Lawyer of the Year

Posted on Thursday 9/9/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Paul W. Reichel has been named the 2022 "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America for Tax Law. Only one lawyer in any practice area in a city is honored as the "Lawyer of the Year."  Paul is a tax attorney who concentrates his practice in public finance transactions and taxation of business and non-profit organizations. He has extensive public finance experience, regularly serving as bond counsel to municipalities, school districts and public agencies. 

Brian Laudadio named Lawyer of the Year

Posted on Thursday 9/9/2021

Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Brian Laudadio has been named the 2022 "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America for Litigation – Municipal. Only one lawyer in any practice area in a city is honored as the "Lawyer of the Year."  Brian is an experienced litigator bringing business, trust and estates, and employment lawsuits to verdict for clients. His reputation as an aggressive litigator with a focus on commercial cases has helped him successfully handle a wide range of matters, including cases related to real estate and commercial leases, business contracts and torts and corporate dissolution proceedings. 

Stanley J. Tartaglia named to Best Lawyers

Posted on Thursday 9/9/2021
Stanley Tartaglia

Rivkin Radler is pleased to announce that Syracuse Law Alum Stanley Tartaglia has been named to the Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch in 2022 list

Pietruszka selected for Flaschner Award

Posted on Thursday 9/9/2021

It is with great pleasure that the American Bar Association Judicial Division National Conference of Specialized Court Judges (NCSCJ) has selected you to receive its 2021 Franklin N. Flaschner Award. You have been nominated for this award by Col. Linda Strite Murnane (Ret.). The Flaschner Award is given to a judge who embodies the high ideals, personal character and competence in performing judicial duties that were exemplified by the late Chief Justice Franklin N. Flaschner of the District Court of Massachusetts who has made significant contributions on local, state and national levels to continuing education of the judiciary and in other ways improved the quality of justice in courts with special and limited jurisdiction.

Christopher J. Burns named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 9/9/2021
Christopher J. Burns

Henson Efron would like to congratulate the following lawyers named to 2022 The Best Lawyers in America list: Christopher J. Burns - Elder Law, Litigation - Trusts and Estates, and Trusts and Estates Recognized 5 Years 

Disabled Faculty and Return to Work: Professor Doron Dorfman Discusses with Reuters

Posted on Wednesday 9/8/2021
Doron Dorfman

Colleges' standoff with disabled faculty over return-to-work seen as key test

(Reuters | Sept. 7, 2021) A battle brewing between U.S. colleges and faculty with disabilities is shaping up as a barometer of whether employers can order staff back to the office amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the clip.

BBI Receives $6.2 Million Award for Southeast ADA Center to Advance Understanding of Disability Rights, Responsibilities

Posted on Wednesday 9/8/2021
Burton Blatt Institute

For the third time in 15 years, the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI)—headquartered in the Syracuse University College of Law—has been awarded a five-year, $6.2 million grant to advance and support understanding of rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through its Southeast ADA Center (SEADA Center).

The funding comes from the US Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Community Living National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the SEADA Center is one of 10 regional centers in the ADA National Network, providing information, training and guidance about the ADA throughout the eight state Southeast region. BBI provides the center with analyses of legal issues affecting the ADA as well as other resources such as “plain language” legal briefs written by Syracuse Law students.

“The complexity of the issues facing the disability community is daunting, along with the increasing need for reliable information in the public domain. The Southeast ADA Center will continue to provide up-to-date, accurate and accessible information on all aspects of the ADA,” says Peter Blanck, University Professor at Syracuse University and Chairman of BBI. “The center’s role is, perhaps, most important than ever in making a positive difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families by fostering ADA understanding and compliance.”

“In the next five years, the Southeast ADA Center will continue to be an important source for information on the ADA,” says Barry Whaley, project director and co-principal investigator. “In addition, we will engage in dynamic research exploring the intersectionality of race, ethnicity and disability across the domains of employment, technology equity and poverty.”

SEADA Center’s educational and advocacy work—providing ADA training, technical assistance, research and user-friendly information—reaches and supports more than one million stakeholders annually across the Southeast region. The renewed funding will allow the center to achieve multiple objectives, including:

  • Encouraging and supporting meaningful partnerships among the disability community, government, business and community organizations to facilitate ADA implementation.
  • Improving and expanding training, technical assistance, and information dissemination that promotes voluntary compliance with the ADA.
  • Empowering individuals across the diversity of disabilities and at the intersection of race, ethnicity, age and gender to increase understanding of ADA rights and responsibilities.
  • Customizing and disseminating outreach materials to culturally and linguistically underserved populations, including Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), and Latinx communities.
  • Conducting research that produces new knowledge and understanding of barriers to employment and economic self-sufficiency, to increase the civic and social participation of people with disabilities.
  • Creating a comprehensive website with a searchable database that is regularly updated.
  • Supporting advocacy and education among students and youth with disabilities.
  • The new funding will support the center’s initiatives through 2026.


Professor Arlene Kanter Discusses Remote Work For Disabled Faculty with Reuters

Posted on Tuesday 9/7/2021
Arlene Kanter

U.S. workplaces look to college fights as return to work 'turning point' looms

(Reuters | Sept. 7, 2021) A legal battle is brewing over remote work between administrators at U.S. colleges committed to in-person classes and some faculty with disabilities. Experts warn it is a precursor of what awaits employers that order staff back to the office amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employment lawyers said higher education provides a key test of who can work remotely because it is a profession traditionally associated with in-person work.

But COVID-19 lockdowns proved what disabled teachers have argued for years -- that online teaching can be a successful way to accommodate them ...

... Court rulings over the past 15 years on remote work often sided with employers without requiring much evidence that telecommuting was unreasonable, said Arlene Kanter, a professor at Syracuse University College of Law. She expects that to change, thanks to the pandemic ...

Read the full article

Syracuse Law Announces Plans to Offer AccessLex Institute’s Helix Bar Review to Students at No Charge

Posted on Wednesday 9/1/2021
Helix Bar Review

In a national first, Syracuse University College of Law has partnered with legal education nonprofit AccessLex Institute to offer AccessLex's interactive Helix Bar Review prep course free of charge to all Syracuse Law students.

Helix Bar Review is a state-of-the-art, comprehensive bar review program that offers students full access to the program during their third year of law school, up to 20 weeks before the bar exam. Early access is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Helix Bar Review, and it ensures that students with multiple responsibilities in law school, at work, or at home, can start their review early and complete the entire course on the schedule they choose.  Other bar preparation programs are not fully open to students until much later.

Helix Bar Review’s online, adaptive learning platform uses an integrated content approach, an active learning interface, personalized pathways, and flexible access options designed to adapt to individual learning styles and to help students efficiently use study time to confidently prepare for the bar exam. While Helix Bar Review uses all the traditional components of a bar review course—such as substantive law outlines, practice questions, and flashcards—the program employs active learning and other methods that are based on the most up-to-date learning science and support long-term retention of knowledge.

Learning methods include short videos, illustrations, checklists, and performance tests. In addition, Helix Bar Review uses gamification to provide supplemental practice opportunities, live “Ask the Experts” webinars that target frequently missed questions and misunderstood concepts, and intensive day-long workshops called “Pass Classes.”

“Continuing our track record of innovation in legal education, I am thrilled that Syracuse Law is the first school to partner with AccessLex as they launch their new Helix Bar Review program. This groundbreaking program offers the tools and preparation our graduates need to efficiently and effectively prepare for the bar exam,” says Craig M. Boise, Dean and Professor of Law. “At Syracuse Law, we are laser-focused on student success at every step of the law school journey. This partnership will give our students a distinct edge in studying for the bar exam—setting them squarely on the path to career success—while reducing their debt by eliminating the need to finance a commercial bar prep course.”

“We are grateful, honored, and excited to be partnering with Syracuse Law in bringing Helix Bar Review to its students. At AccessLex, we have long said it is an accident of history that the bar exam preparation industry exists as it currently does, which makes this, potentially, a seminal moment in legal education,” says AccessLex President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher P. Chapman. “As the leader of a law school whose reputation for innovation and progressive action is well known, Dean Boise recognizes that the Helix approach to bar prep tracks with his strategic vision for student success. It is why we feel Syracuse Law is a perfect partner for the public launch of this game-changing endeavor.” 

Currently, Helix Bar Review offers study materials for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). The non-profit company is currently developing non-UBE state-specific courses and anticipates it will release materials for non-UBE states, such as Florida and California, in 2023. In the meantime, the College of Law is making similar no-cost bar preparation arrangements for third-year students who plan to take the bar exam in those states.

“We know there are law students who do not purchase a commercial bar prep program because of the cost implications,” says Kelly Curtis, Teaching Professor and Director of Academic and Bar Support at the College of Law. “The additional cost of bar prep should never be a barrier to a graduate’s success on the bar exam. With this partnership, we remove that barrier.”

Professor Doron Dorfman Addresses "Suspicious Species" in University of Illinois Review

Posted on Wednesday 9/1/2021
Doron Dorfman
"Suspicious Species." University of Illinois Law Review, Vol. 2021, No. 4.

This article has been recognized as the 2019 Best Scholarship by a Junior Faculty in the study of compliance, awarded by ComplianceNET, and it was the first prize winner of the 2019 Steven M. Block Civil Liberties Award, awarded by Stanford Law School.

Service dogs and emotional support animals provide crucial assistance to people with disabilities in many areas of life. As the number of these assistance animals continues to grow, however, so does public suspicion about abuse of law and faking the need for such accommodations. 

Legislators have been directly reactive to this moral panic, and the majority of states have passed laws to combat the misrepresentation of pets as assistance animals. Consequently, people with disabilities who use service dogs feel the need to signal compliance to avoid harassment, questioning, or exclusion from spaces that do not allow pets. 

Taking an empirical law and psychology approach, Professor Doron Dorfman's article concerns itself with the possible sources of the phenomenon of misrepresentation, which I term “assistance-animal disability con.” The article also discusses the stigmatizing consequences of the moral panic surrounding faking the need to use assistance animals for the disability community. 

The article shows that: 

  1. People with disabilities who use service dogs signal their protected status using extra-legal norms that did not originally appear in federal legislation. They use accessories that indicate legality such as vests and choosing breeds of dogs that have traditionally been associated with service.
  2. The public has been most trusting of these visible signs of compliance in the form of vests indicating the authenticity of a service dog.
  3. In return, the legal system at the state level has adopted those extra-legal norms and translated them into black letter law through a reciprocal model of rulemaking.
  4. The psychological mechanism of “bounded ethicality” can explain people’s engagement with assistance-animal disability con. People misrepresenting their pets as assistance animals seem to not see their acts as unethical or illegal because the victims in the situation, people with disabilities, remain unrecognized in these people’s eyes. 

Based on these original findings, this article argues for legal reform and for the use of tools from the field of behavioral psychology to restore trust in the practice of employing assistance animals to support the needs of millions of Americans with disabilities. The suggested analysis extends beyond disability law, offering a deeper understanding of the relationship between social norms, new laws, and ethical decision-making.

Dean Boise Joins Statement Supporting AG's Call to the Legal Community Regarding Eviction Crisis

Posted on Monday 8/30/2021
Dean Craig M. Boise

Dean Craig M. Boise has joined fellow law school deans to support US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland's call for the legal community—including law schools—to assist individuals who potentially will be displaced in the looming housing and eviction crisis.

"As federal and local eviction moratoriums expire around the country, eviction filings are expected to spike to roughly double their pre-pandemic levels," observes Attorney General Garland. "The legal profession is well positioned to provide support for tenants, landlords, and courts during this crisis. Promoting access to justice to ensure that our justice system delivers outcomes that are fair and accessible to all, irrespective of wealth or status, is one of the highest ideals of the legal profession."

In response, the Dean's Statement—signed by Dean Boise—reads, "As law school deans responsible for training the next generation of lawyers to be stewards of an effective, equitable, and just legal system, we feel obliged to do our part. Therefore, we are working with our faculty and students to take immediate and meaningful action to combat this crisis. 

"Drawing on resources such as our pro bono programs, clinical offerings, and the service of our larger law school communities, we will help ensure that families and individuals facing eviction have the legal representation, counseling, and assistance they need to exercise their rights, that those entitled to the support of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program are able to access it, and that eviction proceedings are conducted in a fair and just manner."

Professor Nina Kohn Helps MarketWatch with Conservatorship Explainer

Posted on Monday 8/30/2021
Nina Kohn

Here’s What to Know About Guardianships and Conservatorships to Avoid Problems

(MarketWatch | Aug. 28, 2021) Guardianships and conservatorships, particularly their more negative aspects, have made headlines in recent months amid the battle by entertainer Britney Spears to remove her father as overseer of her financial affairs. But these legal arrangements may be necessary in certain instances, and those who potentially need to set one up should become acquainted with the good they do and the risks they hold.  

Because guardianships and conservatorships are regulated by state and local statutes, particular details vary. In many states, a guardian refers to someone who oversees personal needs, such as healthcare, feeding, and supervision and/or financial affairs, but in some states the term guardian refers to those who oversee personal affairs, while a conservator refers to those who oversee financial affairs. 

State courts have the power to appoint guardians or conservators for adults who are at risk because they are unable to make basic decisions for themselves. And the arrangement can only be revoked by the court.   

“[O]nce a guardian is appointed, the court is simultaneously removing the individual’s right to make that decision for themselves,” says Nina Kohn, a law professor at Syracuse University. “If a court found that I lacked the capacity to make my own healthcare decisions, and appointed a guardian to make those decisions, I would lose the right to make my own healthcare decisions" ...

Read the full article

The National Trial League—a New Advocacy Competition Format—Kicks Off with 12 Top Trial Teams

Posted on Monday 8/30/2021
National Trial League

The National Trial league (NTL) is a brand-new advocacy trial competition that brings together 12 top national trial teams to compete in a season-long format, resembling a traditional sports league. The bi-weekly matches will be conducted virtually using short fact patterns. The inaugural NTL season starts on Aug. 31, 2021, and concludes on November 9, with matches taking place on Tuesdays.

Explains NTL organizer Professor Todd Berger, Director of Advocacy Programs at Syracuse University College of Law, "Before the NTL, trial competitions occurred over the course of several days and featured a long and complex fact pattern. While some trials in the real world resemble that construct, many involve much shorter fact patterns and are tried over a few hours, particularly bench trials."

Berger adds, "We envision the National Trial League as a partnership between each member institution. Without a doubt the league’s greatest strength is the quality of all 12 advocacy programs. It’s an honor to have each school join the league."

The 12 inaugural NTL teams have been divided into two conferences of six teams each to guarantee seven rounds of competition. Each team will have five bi-weekly matches against conference opponents, ensuring a round-robin within the conferences. Then, beginning in the fourth week of the season, each team will have one cross-conference match selected at random.

The final week of the season will feature the last cross-conference match, with seeding based on a team’s conference standing. Based on the overall win/loss record, the top two teams from each conference will advance to the playoffs.

Notes Berger, "By launching NTL, we hope to create more opportunities for students to learn advocacy skills in a competitive format and to expose students to the types of cases they will take to trial as attorneys. Plus, it creates opportunities for schools to compete outside of the traditional two-to-three-day weekend tournament structure."

Follow the league at nationaltrialleague.org. The website will feature the NTL schedule, standings, a week-by-week scoreboard, and a player profile section with biographies of competing students.

Teams for the 2021-2022 NTL Season

  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
  • Emory University School of Law
  • Georgia State University College of Law
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law
  • South Texas College of Law Houston
  • St. Mary’s University School of Law
  • Suffolk University Law School
  • Syracuse University College of Law
  • University of Illinois-Chicago John Marshall Law School
  • University of South Carolina School of Law

Stack named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Gerry Stack was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Tax Law

Smith named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Lynn Smith was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Corporate Law

Sciotti named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Michael Sciotti was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Employment Law - Management; Labor Law - Management; Litigation - Labor and Employment

Rudnick named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Jack Rudnick was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Corporate Law

Roe named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Kevin Roe was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Environmental Law

Melvin named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Buster Melvin was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Labor and Employment

McAuliffe named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Kevin McAuliffe was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Project Finance Law

Leja named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Andrew Leja was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Environmental Law

Hubbard named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Peter Hubbard was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Banking and Finance Law; Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law

Harrigan named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Chris Harrigan was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Commercial Litigation; Litigation - Labor and Employment 

Gilberti named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Bill Gilberti was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Environmental Law

French named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Dan French was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Criminal Defense: White-Collar

Dove named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Jeff Dove was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law

Ciardullo named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Fran Ciardullo was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Health Care Law

Barrer named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Robert Barrer was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Commercial Litigation

Barclay named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Will Barclay was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Corporate Law

Alcott named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Lee Alcott was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Commercial Litigation

Domagalski named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Jim Domagalski was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Commercial Litigation; Construction Law

Foster named Best Lawyer

Posted on Thursday 8/26/2021

​Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Bill Foster was included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as a Best Lawyer - Insurance Law

Vaccines in the Workplace: Professor Doron Dorfman Discusses with CNYCentral

Posted on Wednesday 8/25/2021
Doron Dorfman

White House says it will pull 'every possible lever' to require vaccination

(CNYCentral | Aug. 24, 2021) There's a growing push for employers, schools and other institutions to require vaccination against COVID-19 now that the Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval for the use of Pfizer's two-dose vaccine in people 16 and older.

On Tuesday, members of the White House COVID-19 response team said the federal government would be looking for more ways to encourage private sector players to "step up" and require shots ...

... Doron Dorfman, an employment law professor at Syracuse University College of Law, noted that the legality of employer mandates was never in question, even when the vaccine was under emergency use authorization.

"The full authorization of the vaccine might be triggering more employers to require it ... but it's not a legal issue," Dorfman explained.

It has long been understood that employers could require employees to get vaccinated to ensure a safe work environment, among other reasons. The position was upheld earlier this year by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In July, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion, stating that federal law does not prohibit public agencies and private businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccines, including those authorized under emergency use.

Outside of discriminatory behavior, the law gives employers a lot of leeway to hire or fire at will, Dorfman said. "As long you don't have an anti-discrimination law against people who don't want to get vaccinated...they are not a protected category under the law" ...

Read the full article.

Masks on Campus: Professor Doron Dorfman Speaks with University Business

Posted on Tuesday 8/24/2021
Doron Dorfman

(University Business | Aug. 23, 2021) hort of temporary court intervention—which happened recently in South Carolina—public colleges or universities have struggled to skirt around state bans on mask or vaccine mandates. A few K-12 school districts in Florida and Texas have challenged them under threats from their governors, though there is some uncertainty whether those will continue.

However, some individuals who work or attend institutions of higher education could make headway against those executive orders, especially on masks. For example, students and employees who are immunocompromised—or are caregivers for those who are—could ask their institutions for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Individuals themselves would not be looking to mask themselves, but rather ask that those they come in close contact with be masked up because of the dangers of COVID-19.

Colleges and universities likely would have to grant them modifications in some form, according to Syracuse University Professor Doron Dorfman, because those requests would meet several standards laid out Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Titles I and II of the ADA. For faculty, that could mean an arrangement such as remote instruction options or mask accommodations, but students could appeal directly to federal courts if they did not get relief.

“I think wearing a mask is a reasonable accommodation,” Dorfman says. “A lot of people are immunocompromised. They just need to evoke their rights. They need to request a modification from the institution" ...

Read the full article.

Syracuse University College of Law Welcomes New Students at its 2021 Convocation

Posted on Monday 8/23/2021
College of Law

On Aug. 19, 2021, Syracuse University College of Law welcomed 239 new students at a Convocation ceremony held in Hendricks Chapel on the Syracuse University campus. The new student body includes 142 students in the residential juris doctor program (Class of 2024); 97 students in the online JDinteractive program (Class of 2025); plus 32 LL.M. students, four doctoral students, eight visiting scholars, four semester exchange students, and three international students in the two-year J.D. program.

The students heard from Syracuse University Chancellor and President Kent Syverud, College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise, and Joanie Mahoney L'90, President of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. 

Addressing the students, Dean Boise observed that, "This Chapel is an appropriate space to reflect on your 'future moment.' For there are many unprecedented challenges that await your bright minds, sharp skills, and deep sense of justice. Today’s news headlines speak of climate change and human security; justice for communities of color; the rights of vulnerable populations; public health mandates versus individual rights; and respect for the rule of law and democracy abroad and at home. 

"Our faculty are leading experts in these topics and more! They, and the laws that impact them, will come alive for you in the classroom. At Syracuse, we will inspire you, prepare you, and help you gather and hone the tools to shape lives and change the world. I know—we know—that’s why you are here!

President Mahoney reminded the students that "The world needs people educated in the law more than ever. We have seen chaos and dysfunction across the globe and we have seen it in our own country. The United States has been held up for generations as a shining example of self-governance and a place where people can achieve great heights, not by virtue of their birth but by virtue of their education, hard work, and tenacity. 

"But we have seen that the opportunity is not always equal, and we have to remain vigilant and protect our democracy if we expect our children to live in the land of freedom that was described in our history books."

Chanceller Syverud challenged the new students "to embrace the whole of what Syracuse University has to offer: "Starting today, you are part of a dedicated community of educators, researchers, scholars, and practitioners. You will learn from a community that draws its vibrancy from the diverse backgrounds and experiences represented here. You are at a University that is rich with ideas and perspectives. I so envy the opportunities before you this day."

Overview of Incoming J.D. Students

Class size: 239

  • J.D. Residential: 142
  • JDinteractive: 97
  • J.D. Residential Transfer: 2 
  • JDinteractive Transfer: 3
  • J.D. Two-Year: 3
  • Selectivity rate: 32.74%*

LSAT Scores

  • 75th: 160*
  • 50th: 157**
  • 25th: 154

Undergraduate GPA (uGPA)

  • 75th: 3.72
  • 50th: 3.51***
  • 25th: 3.18

Higher Degrees

  • Master’s Degrees: 46, including in business, education, and nursing
  • Ph.D.s: 4
  • M.D.s: 3


  • Average Age: 29
  • Gender: 117 male, 128 female, 2 did not disclose/non-binary/transgender
  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC): 37% (89 students)****
  • First-Generation Students: 63
  • LGBTQ: 20


  • Veterans/Active Duty: 15
  • Military Affiliated: 13


  • States Represented: 35, including District of Columbia and Guam
  • Countries Represented Other than US: 13 (Brazil, Canada, China, Honduras, India, Japan, Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands, and Vietnam
  • Languages Spoken: 17, including Arabic, Chinese, Ewe, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Telugu, and Vietnamese

*Syracuse Law saw a 30% applications increase for 2021-2022 (a 31% increase for the J.D. residential program and 28% increase for the JDinteractive program).

**A median LSAT of 157 is the highest the College of Law has seen in the 10 year history that the ABA has been collecting data, and a 160 75th percentile LSAT is also the highest in that 10 years.

***A median GPA of 3.51 has only been beaten once—by last year’s 3.53 median uGPA.

****37% is the highest percentage of BIPOC students in the 10 year history of reports.

Sofia L. Rezvani joins Higgs Fletcher & Mack

Posted on Monday 8/23/2021
Sofia Rezvani

Higgs Fletcher & Mack (HFM) is proud to welcome attorney Sofia Rezvani, who will join the Firm’s Healthcare Law, Business Litigation and Professional Liability Practice Groups. Rezvani previously worked at a New York-based litigation boutique, where her practice focused on defending physicians, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other medical professionals in malpractice litigation and various licensing and disciplinary proceedings. She has also represented companies and individuals in a variety of general business litigation matters. Rezvani earned her Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law and previously earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Davis. 

"Covid Changed All That:" Professor Arlene Kanter Quoted by The New York Times on Remote Learning

Posted on Monday 8/23/2021
Arlene Kanter

For Some College Students, Remote Learning Is a Game Changer

(The New York Times | Aug. 23, 2021) ... In fact, long before the pandemic, many students with disabilities had been calling for such accommodations, often to little avail. The past year, however, has made remote instruction seem more feasible. While some colleges have resisted remote learning as an accommodation, others say they are considering it.

“The argument in the past, pre-Covid, was, ‘Of course, an online course is fundamentally different than a course in the classroom,’” said Arlene Kanter, an expert in disability law at the Syracuse University College of Law. “Well, Covid changed all that.”

Colleges and universities are generally required to provide “reasonable” accommodations or modifications for qualified students with disabilities — as long as those changes do not “fundamentally alter” the nature of the program or pose other undue burdens for the institutions ...

Read the full article.

Syracuse Law LL.M. Program Celebrates 10 Years; Welcomes New Cohorts

Posted on Monday 8/23/2021
College of Law

At the Syracuse University College of Law Convocation on Aug. 19, 2021, the Office of International Programs welcomed one of its largest cohorts to date: 32 LL.M. students, representing the legal education systems of 15 countries; four doctoral students in the College's inaugural S.J.D. class; eight visiting scholars; four semester exchange students; and three new students in the two-year J.D. program.

For the first time, Syracuse Law welcomes students from Afghanistan, Finland, Liberia, the Netherlands, and Uzbekistan.

In 2021-2022 the Office of International Programs celebrates the 10th year of its Master of Laws program. According to Assistant Dean of International programs Andrew S. Horsfall L'10, since the fall 2012, the College has conferred 207 LL.M. degrees to students from 55 countries.

"This year’s LL.M. class is comprised of a truly impressive group of students attracted to Syracuse through meaningful partnerships and institutional relationships," says Horsfall. "The group includes five Open Society Fellows, including four Disability Rights Fellows and one Civil Society Leadership Fellow; three Fulbright Scholars; and four students from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)."

Horsfall added that among those assisting and advising the new international students are several Syracuse Law LL.M. Student Mentors: Mazaher Kaila, Marisol Estrada Cruz, Anthony Levitskiy, Carlos Negron, and Tia Thevenin.

Fall 2021 LL.M. Class

  • Sadaf Baseer (Afghanistan): Baseer was awarded a Fulbright grant to pursue her LL.M. studies. She obtained her LL.B. from the American University of Afghanistan in 2018. Prior to coming to Syracuse, she worked as a Program Administrator for The Big Word, an organization under the Ministry of Defense that helps train and provide interpreters to support U.K. operations in the region. She is a passionate advocate for human rights who plans to dedicate her LL.M. studies to the rights of women and children.
  • Princeton Bormain (Liberia): Bormain completed a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Liberia in 2017 and his LL.B. from Lovely Professional University in India in 2021.  He holds several specialized certificates, including two from Harvard University.  He plans to pursue courses in criminal law and international law.
  • Violet  Bundi (Kenya): Bundi received her LL.B. from Kenyatta University in 2013 and a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law in 2016.  Before moving to the US, she was a managing partner and lawyer at several firms in Kenya. Bundi now lives in Syracuse, NY, and she intends to enroll in courses that will prepare her to sit for the New York Bar Exam.
  • Ana Elena Calderon (Mexico): Calderon completed her LL.B. from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in June 2021. In 2018, she interned at Baker McKenzie where she focused on commercial and civil litigation. She is also the founder and president of AccMex, a student group focused on the improvement of education in rural areas. Her LL.M. studies will focus in business and commercial law.
  • Maria Chaidez (Mexico): Chaidez completed her LL.B. from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in 2021. She has interned with judges and notary publics and plans to dedicate her LL.M. studies to subjects tested on the New York Bar Exam.
  • Ubah Chibueze (Nigeria): Chibueze completed his LL.B. at Ebonyi State University in 2018 and a postgraduate law degree from the Nigerian Law School in 2019. Since graduating, he has worked as a lawyer in Nigeria, most recently at a private law firm. Chibueze is interested in studying alternative dispute resolution and courses tested on the New York Bar Exam during his LL.M. studies.
  • Quirine Comans (Netherlands): Comans completed her Bachelor of Law and Business Administration at the University of Amsterdam in May 2021. As an undergraduate, she served as a legal assistant at a private law firm. Comans will be a member of the Syracuse University women’s field hockey team while enrolled in the LL.M. Program. She plans to focus her studies on general subjects in American law and the US legal system.
  • Fabiano de Araújo Saraiva (Brazil): Saraiva holds an LL.B. and postgraduate certificate in criminal procedure from the Federal University of Ceará. He also holds master’s in mediation from the University Carlos III de Madrid in Spain and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in law from Salamanca University in Spain. Saraiva is a professor at the University Center of João Pessoa in Brazil where he teaches mediation, negotiation, and civil procedure. He also serves as a public prosecutor for the State of Pernambuco. He plans to study class actions and constitutional law.
  • Mohamed Elansary Mohamed (Egypt): Elansary was awarded an LL.M. fellowship from the Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Leadership Award Program.  He holds an LL.B. from Helwan University and a diploma in International Law from Cairo University.  Since 2011, he has worked as a lawyer and legal researcher at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies where his practice focuses on criminal law, labor law, and administrative law. He will study human rights law and international law.
  • Nino Elbakidze (Georgia): Elbakidze was awarded an LL.M. fellowship from the Open Society Foundation’s Disability Rights Scholarship Program. She obtained her LL.M. from Ivane Javakishvili State University of Tbilisi, in Georgia, in 2003. She participated in the 2018-2019 Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program during which she pursued coursework in human rights law at American University’s Washington College of Law. She has more than 18 years experience working to support human rights. Prior to joining her current position as Executive Director and Senior Researcher for the Human Rights Advocacy and Democracy Fund, Elbakidze worked as a Senior Human Rights Fellow for Sector3, an NGO based in Tbilisi, serving as a hub for development work with other civil society organizations.
  • Carlos Galaviz (Mexico): Galaviz received his LL.B. from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in 2020. His area of interests focuses primarily on international and business law. He plans to enroll in courses that will help him prepare for the New York Bar Exam.
  • Nana Gochiashvili (Georgia): Gochiashvili was awarded an LL.M. fellowship from the Open Society Foundation’s Disability Rights Scholarship Program. She holds an LL.B. and a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in Georgia. She holds a Master’s in Social Work from Ilia State University. Gochiashvili is a project coordinator, social worker, and board member of the Partnership for Human Rights. She is also a member of the National Prevention Mechanism of the Public Defender of Georgia, where she makes recommendations about the protection of children’s rights. She also serves as the Social Work Practice Coordinator in the Social Work Program at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.
  • Amos Imafidon (Nigeria): Imafidon holds an LL.B. from Amborse Alli University in Edo State, Nigeria. He graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2017. Imafidon has been a legal officer at Zenith Bank PLC since 2019. In this position, he drafts and reviews bank agreements and advises on regulatory compliance. He plans to study corporate and commercial law.
  • Oyakhilome Isaac (Nigeria): Isaac obtained his LL.B. with honors from the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K. in 2017. He plans to study national security and counterterrorism law while enrolled in the LL.M. Program.
  • Mahliyo Jumaeva (Uzbekistan): Jumaeva obtained her LL.B. from Tashkent State University of Law in Uzbekistan in 2018. Since graduating, she served as the head of the Human Resources Department for the Uzbekistan National Stadium and as a lawyer for the Uzbekistan Cycling Federation. Most recently, she has been the Chief Specialist of the International Cooperation Department at Tashkent State University of Law where the forecasts political, economic, and social trends. Jumaeva will study banking law.
  • Lotta Lampela (USA): Lampela holds both a Bachelor and Master of Arts in History from Oulu University in Finland. She also holds an LL.M. in International Law from Helsinki University. She was the Chief Superintendent of the Finnish Security Intelligence Service and an intelligence advisor for the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre. Before recently moving to the US, Lampela served as a policy advisor for the Delegation of the European Union to the International Organizations in Vienna where she represented the EU and its member states at the UN Office of Drugs and Crime and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. She plans to enroll in courses that will prepare her for the New York Bar Exam.
  • Usman Munawar (Pakistan): Munawar received his LL.B. from the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan. He is the Managing Partner as his own law firm in Pakistan where he practices civil, criminal, and family law. Munawar will enroll in business and commercial law courses while enrolled in the LL.M Program.
  • Sabrina Nardilla (Indonesia): Nardilla is a Fulbright recipient who obtained her LL.B. from the University of Gajah Mada Yogykarta, in Indonesia, in 2017. She works as a Human Rights Analyst in Indonesia’s Ministry of Law and Human Rights’ Research Agency where she engaged in socio-legal policy research on a variety of human rights issues, including working conditions in the palm oil industry. Her LL.M. studies will focus on legal research, law and society, and human rights.
  • Comfort Nkana (Nigeria): Nkana obtained her LL.B. from Obafemi Awolowo University in 2015 and graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2016. Since graduating, she has practiced commercial litigation and real estate law at private firms in Abuja, Nigeria. Nkana also serves as a legal volunteer at the Taroz Care Foundation, which works to combat sexual violence against women and girls. She hopes to gain a greater exposure to American law during the LL.M. Program.
  • Blessing Nwaigbo (Nigeria): Nwaigbo obtained her LL.B. from Nnamdi Azikiwe University in 2014. She graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2015 and completed a postgraduate certificate in Petroleum and Environmental Law from Rivers State University in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in 2018. She served as associate counsel of a private firm since 2016, where she practices commercial and property law. Nwaigbo intends to sit for the New York Bar Exam after graduation.
  • Ositadinma Nwosu (Nigeria): Nwosu received his LL.B. from Abia State University in 2012 and graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2014. Since graduating, he has worked as lawyer in private practice where he focuses on commercial law and litigation. Nwosu plans to enroll in courses in commercial law and human rights law. He also intends to become eligible to sit for the New York Bar Exam.
  • Livingstone Ochieng (Kenya): Ochieng holds an LL.B. from Moi University School of Law and a post-graduate diploma in law from the Kenya School of Law. He has been an associate advocate in private practice since 2020 where he practices a wide range of law, including criminal, civil, and family law. He plans to study human rights, constitutional, and criminal law.
  • Dawit Oro (Ethiopia): Oro has been awarded an LL.M. fellowship with the Open Society Foundation’s Disability Rights Scholarship Program. He completed his LL.B. in 2007 from Ethiopia’s Dilla University and recently obtained an LL.M. in Human Rights Law from Addis Ababa University. Oro is currently working as a public prosecutor for Ethiopia’s Federal Attorney General. In his practice, he works to review and harmonize the laws of Ethiopia with its commitment to the United Nation’s CRPD while advocating on behalf of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia.
  • Sindy Perez Ospino (Colombia): Perez holds an LL.B. and a postgraduate certificate in international human rights from the Universidad del Atlántico in Colombia.  She works as a communications coordinator for En-Vero, a human rights organization in Colombia. In this role, she reviews wrongful convictions and communicates with alleged victims of human rights violations. Perez hopes to study international law, human rights law, immigration law, and postconflict reconstruction.
  • Macarena Ramos López (Mexico): Ramos is finishing her LL.B. at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and comes to Syracuse under a dual-degree program. She has interned, studied, and worked in London, Milan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. During her LL.M. studies, she will pursue courses in international business law and corporate law.
  • Beheshta Rasekh (Afghanistan): Rasekh comes to Syracuse as a Fulbright award grantee. She obtained her LL.B. from the American University of Afghanistan in 2020. She is a Program Assistant for the non-governmental organization Afghans for Progressive Thinking, where she works on projects to extend dialogue and debates on peace, education, and democratic values. During her LL.M. program, she plans to focus her studies in human rights and criminal law.
  • Oreofe Salako (Nigeria): Salako graduated with an LL.B. from the University of Ibadan in 2015. She graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 2016. Salako has worked as a legal associate at a firm in Lagos where she practices commercial law. She plans to study intellectual property and technology law.
  • Manuel Sarkis Reyes (Mexico): Sarkis is finishing his LL.B. at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and comes to us under a dual-degree program.  During his studies at ITAM, he has held internships in criminal law and human rights defense. He plans to study international and business law.
  • Ahmed Oday Shawka (Iraq): Shawka is a Fulbright award recipient who obtained his LL.B. from the Babylon University, in Iraq, in 2016. During his studies, he studied abroad at the University of Texas at Austin in 2015. Prior to his LL.M. studies in Syracuse, he worked as a Public Relations Officer with Samyoung Co and as an Immigration Assistant with a consulting agency in Baghdad. During his LL.M. studies, Shawka plans to study courses in immigration law, business law, and criminal law.
  • Natalia Shurygina (Russian Federation): Shurygina obtained her LL.B. from the Uralskij Economic Institute in 2013 and a Master’s in philosophy from Kurganskij Gosudarstvennyj University in 2018. She was a law clerk in a commercial court in Kurgan and now serves as in-house counsel for a ride-share company. Shurygina intends to study intellectual property and technology transfer law.
  • Wesen Teklestandik (Ethiopia): Teklestandik is a Disability Rights Scholarship recipient sponsored by the Open Society Foundation. He holds an LL.B. and an LL.M. in Human Rights Law from Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa University. He is a public prosecutor with Ethiopia’s Federal Attorney General. In this work, Teklestandik works directly with claimants pursuing disability and human rights violations. He is a founding member of the Ethiopian Lawyers with Disability Association.
  • Riffat Ul Muntaha Qureshi (Pakistan): Quershi completed her LL.B. at Islamia University of Bahawalpur in Pakistan. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Science from the University of Punjab, Lahore, and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Fatima Jinnah Medical University in Lahore. She also holds an M.S. in hospital administration and M.B.A. from the University of Binghamton. Qureshi has held several legal positions in a medical setting, most recently acting as chief defense counsel at the Academy of Family Physicians of Pakistan. She plans to enroll in courses that will prepare her for the New York Bar Exam.
  • Michel Vejar (Mexico): Vejar is finishing her LL.B. at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and comes to us under a dual-degree program. While enrolled in ITAM, Vejar was a member of the civil law clinic. She also interned at a tax consulting law firm.

Inaugural S.J.D. Class

  • Renci “Mercy” Xie (China): Renci Xie is a 2020 graduate of the College’s LL.M. program and a recipient of the Wonderland Scholarship. She holds an LL.B. from the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing, China. Prior to coming to Syracuse, she worked as a trainee lawyer in a private firm where she worked on inclusive education cases for children with disabilities and as a legal translator. Her S.J.D. research will focus on the role of human rights indicators in advancing the right to inclusive education for students with disabilities in China pursuant to Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Her advisor will be Professor Arlene Kanter.
  • Ricardo Macedo Pereira (Brazil): Pereira is a 2018 graduate of the Syracuse LL.M. Program. Previously, he obtained a Master of Laws from the University of Brasilia in 1997 and a Ph.D. from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 2003.  He has worked as a federal prosecutor for the Public Ministry of Labor and Employment. He was also a professor and senior researcher at the University Center of the Distrito Federale and the University of Brasilia. Pereira’s S.J.D. research will focus on expanding enforceable legal protections for people with disabilities who face discrimination in employment in Brazil. His advisor will be Professor Antonio Gidi.
  • Jawad Salman (Palestinian Authority): Jawad Salman is a 2018 graduate of the College of Law’s LL.M.  program, where he was a recipient of the LL.M. Fellowship offered by the Open Society Palestinian Rule of Law Program. He received his LL.B. from An-Najah National University in Palestine in 2016.  He has served as an advisor and lecturer in Mathematics, Physics, and Management at Noor Taalemy Institute in Jerusalem.  Most recently, he has taught courses in tax law, public finance, administrative law, insurance law, and commercial law at An-Najah National University Faculty of Law. His S.J.D. research will focus on a comparative study of the tax policies of foreign income of the United States, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel. His advisor will be Professor Robert Nassau.
  • Yohannes Zewale (Ethiopia): Yohannes Zewale earned his LL.M. from the College of Law in 2019, where he received the Open Society Disability Rights Scholarship. He obtained his LL.B. from Addis Ababa University College of Law in 2015 and has held positions at the Addis Ababa University School of Law Free Legal Aid Project, the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, the Wogen Children and Mother’s Association, and the Ethiopian Center for Disabilities and Development. He is currently a lecturer at Addis Ababa University. His S.J.D. research will focus on a comparative legal analysis of the application of the requirement of “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Ethiopian law. His advisor will be Professor Michael Schwartz.

Two-Year J.D. Program Class

  • Jeongbae Choi (South Korea): Choi earned his LL.B. from Seoul National University in 2004. He has since worked for the National Assembly of Korea as a Legislative Research Officer, where he researched and drafts legislative materials for the representative body of South Korea. His legislative experience includes work on the Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Committee, the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, and the Finance and Fair Trade Team of the National Assembly Research Service.
  • Luiz Felipe Kazeker (Brazil): Kazeker obtained his LL.B. from the Adventist University of São Paulo in 2016. He also earned his LL.M. with a specialization in Immigration Law and Policy from American University’s Washington College of Law in 2020. He has held several internships in Washington, DC, including at the World Bank and the Washington College of Law Justice Clinic. Prior to beginning his J.D. studies, he worked as an immigration law case manager for the DC-based law firm of Hayman-Woodward PLLC.
  • Brian Sampaio (Brazil): Sampaio is a 2020 graduate of the LL.M. Program. He obtained his LL.B. from the State University of Feira de Santana in Brazil in 2015.  He worked as a lawyer for the Public Ministry of Labor, where he handled labor law violations cases before coming to Syracuse to pursue his LL.M. and J.D. studies.

2021-2022 Visiting Scholars

  • Smitha Nazir (India): Dr. Smitha Nizar is a Fulbright Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar from India. In her postdoctoral research, she examines the need to align India’s national laws with the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and to uphold the basic rights for persons with disabilities.  She is pursuing research supervised by Professor Arlene Kanter
  • Satoshi Kawashima (Japan): Professor Kawashima teaches at Okayama University of Science and Kanagawa University’s Graduate School of Law. During his visit, he will pursue the study and research of US disability rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act under the supervision of Professor Arlene Kanter.
  • Kihan Lee (South Korea): Professor Lee teaches at Dankook University’s Faculty of Law. He is also Chair of the Korea Social Service Policy Institute. He will engage in the study and research of comparative environmental regulation, with specific focus on the United States and South Korea, and economic and legal efforts to combat climate change under the guidance of Professor David Driesen.
  • Kyoungtae Hwang (South Korea): Hwang is a intellectual property and blockchain lawyer and researcher working with Professor Chris Day and Shubha Ghosh. He is making a return research visit to the College of Law to explore the legal framework of blackchain and cryptocurrency in the United States.
  • Patricia Pizzol (Brazil): Professor Pizzol teaches class actions and civil procedure at Pontificia Universidade Catolica de São Paulo. She will undertake a comparative study of class actions and methods of standardizing judicial decisions, under the guidance of Professor Antonio Gidi.
  • Natalia Chernicharo Guimaraes (Brazil): Professor Guimaraes teaches civil procedure at University of Juiz de Fora. She will research comparative civil procedure and class actions, under the guidance of Professor Antonio Gidi.
  • Mieczyslaw Sprengel (Poland): Professor Sprengel teaches international relations, international law, and economics at Adam Mickiewicz University. He will undertake research of international law and politics, with specific focus on European-Australian relations, under the guidance of Professor Cora True-Frost.
  • Levan Nanobashvili (Georgia): Nanobashvili is a Fulbright Teaching Scholar and a practicing intellectual property lawyer in Georgia. He plans to engage in the study and research of intellectual property law, internet law, and the teaching methods and pedagogy of these subjects under the guidance of Professor Shubha Ghosh.

Fall 2021 Exchange Students

  • Jakub Domanski (Poland): Domanski is enrolled in the University of Bialystok. During his semester in Syracuse, he will pursue courses in business law, administrative law, and European Union law.
  • Costanza Giuntini (Italy): Giuntini is enrolled in the University of Florence. She plans to enroll in courses in evidence, criminal law, and women and the law during her semester in Syracuse.
  • Matilde Manfriani (Italy): Manfriani is enrolled in the University of Florence. She will enroll in subjects related to commercial transactions, business associations, corporate finance, and climate change during her semester in Syracuse.
  • Federico Paganelli (Italy): Paganelli is enrolled in the University of Florence. He will study subjects in banking law, negotiations, and business law during his semester in Syracuse.

Professor Peter Blanck Pens OpEd on Vaccines and Universities' Duty of Care

Posted on Monday 8/23/2021
Peter Blanck

Uni students have had to be vaccinated against other diseases—COVID-19 is no different

(The Conversation | Aug. 22, 2021) Should universities require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before attending campus once vaccines are readily available in Australia?

Professor Iain Martin, vice-chancellor of Deakin University and former dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland, says yes.

Campus life is filled with potential super-spreader events. Students attend lectures, seminars, social events and industry functions.

Student immunisation and screening requirements existed for certain courses before the pandemic. COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for students in certain circumstances. They include those who enter premises that have government-driven mandatory vaccination requirements, such as restricted vulnerable facilities. Examples include hospitals, residential aged care, disability accommodation services and correctional centres.

Until now, Australian universities have not sought to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all students. However, Martin says:

“I am unequivocally of the view that we have a duty to be vaccinated unless there is an overwhelming health reason why an individual cannot take any of the available vaccines.”

In response, National Union of Students president Zoe Ranganathan accepted the importance of vaccinations, but called for a less “punitive” approach.

In Canada, some have suggested mandatory vaccinations should apply only to students on campus. Those who refuse to get vaccinated “should be offered online alternatives” ...

Read the full article.

Heidi L. Wickstrom named Best Lawyer: Ones to Watch

Posted on Friday 8/20/2021
Heidi Wickstrom

Heidi L. Wickstrom (J.D. 2007) has been included in the 2022 Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch. Ms. Wickstrom is currently an attorney at the Illinois law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard where she focuses her practice on personal injury, medical malpractice and products liability.

Kent Knickmeyer named Lawyer of the Year

Posted on Friday 8/20/2021

Thompson Coburn attorney, Kent Knickmeyer, has been recognized by the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® (by BL Rankings). Kent was named as one of the 2022 Lawyers of the Year, Litigation - Securities.

Professor Doron Dorfman: Students with Disabilities Could Sue Their Schools to Require Masks

Posted on Thursday 8/19/2021
Doron Dorfman

(The Washington Post | Aug. 19, 2021) The school year is upon us, and the mask wars have flared up again. School board meetings attract parents adamantly opposed to their children wearing masks as well as parents, pediatricians and public health experts who say that mask-wearing is crucial to keeping children safe and curbing the pandemic.

Educators face special challenges in those states—including Florida, Arizona, Texas and Iowa—where governments have barred state-funded schools, colleges and universities from requiring their students to wear masks in the classrooms.

While ordinances barring mask mandates are harmful to our community at large, they particularly hurt individuals with certain disabilities such as cancer or various forms of autoimmune diseases who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. Which raises a question: Could disability rights law offer a way to cut through the controversy—establishing a legal right for some students (and teachers) to receive the “accommodation” of being protected by masks in schools? We believe the answer is yes ...

Read the full article.

Professor Nina Kohn: Britney Spears’ Case Has Shown Why Guardianship Laws Need to Change

Posted on Thursday 8/19/2021
Nina Kohn

(The Guardian | Aug. 18, 2021) Around the world, fans of pop star Britney Spears celebrated her father’s announcement last week that he would resign as her conservator. This development is welcome news for Spears and her supporters, dubbed the #FreeBritney movement. 

But it will not end Spears’ conservatorship, which has prevented her from making decisions about her own life since it was established shortly after she had a mental breakdown in 2008. Nor will it prevent others from finding themselves in similar situations. That will require changing the underlying legal systems that created Spears’ predicament.

While many have only recently learned of conservatorship thanks to the #FreeBritney movement, this legal process is neither new nor unique to the US. It is a common court proceeding in which the court appoints someone to make decisions for individuals the court has found cannot make decisions for themselves. California – where Spears lives – calls this proceeding conservatorship and calls the appointee a conservator. 

More commonly, it is called guardianship and the appointee is called a guardian. While Spears has drawn attention to guardianship, the process typically entangles those far less privileged. Changes in the pop star’s situation , as welcome as they may be, won’t themselves trigger the reform of a legal mechanism mainly experienced by people society has historically treated as expendable ...

Read the full article.

The Right Moment for Nursing Home Reform? Professor Nina Kohn Quoted by USA Today

Posted on Wednesday 8/18/2021
Nina Kohn

After pandemic ravaged nursing homes, new state laws protect residents

(USA Today/Kaiser Health News | Aug. 17, 2021) When the coronavirus hit Martha Leland’s Connecticut nursing home last year, she and dozens of other residents contracted the disease while the facility was on lockdown. Twenty-eight residents died, including her roommate.

“The impact of not having friends and family come in and see us for a year was totally devastating,” she said. “And then, the staff all bound up with the masks and the shields on, that too was very difficult to accept.” She summed up the experience in one word: “scary.”

But under a law Connecticut enacted in June, nursing home residents will be able to designate an “essential support person” who can help take care of a loved one even during a public health emergency. Connecticut legislators also approved laws this year giving nursing home residents free internet access and digital devices for virtual visits and allowing video cameras in their rooms so family or friends can monitor their care.

Similar benefits are not required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency that oversees nursing homes and pays for most of the care they provide. But states can impose additional requirements when those federal rules are insufficient or don’t exist.

And that’s exactly what many are doing, spurred by the virus that hit the frail elderly hardest ...

... “Part of what the pandemic did is to expose some of the underlying problems in nursing homes,” said Nina Kohn, a law professor at Syracuse University School of Law and a distinguished scholar in elder law at Yale Law School. “This may present an opportunity to correct some of the long-standing problems and reduce some of the key risk factors for neglect and mistreatment" ...

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks Publishes 2021-2022 National Security Law/Counterterrorism Law Supplement

Posted on Wednesday 8/18/2021
William C. Banks

Along with his co-authors, Professor Emeritus William C. Banks has published the 2021-2022 Supplement to his essential casebooks National Security Law (7th ed., Wolters Kluwer) and Counterterrorism Law (4th ed., Wolters Kluwer).

The 2021–2022 Supplement will help students and teachers stay up to date with national security and counterterrorism developments during the coming academic year. By including the most important recent cases, legislation, and executive branch actions, the new Supplement also underscores the critical work that lawyers do to keep this nation both safe and free.

The Supplement is co-authored by Stephen Dycus, Emily Berman, Peter Raven-Hansen, and Stephen I. Vladeck. 

Recent developments addressed in the 2021-2022 Supplement include:

  • Legal issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Fallout from the Mueller Report
  • US–Mexico border wall, emergencies, and related issues
  • Extraterritoriality and cross-border shootings
  • Russian interference in US elections
  • Congressional access to Executive Branch information
  • Anti-Riot Act prosecutions and domestic terrorism
  • The January 6 attack on the US Capitol
  • The next generation of Guantánamo litigation

3L Ryan Marquette Makes His Case

Posted on Wednesday 8/18/2021
Ryan Marquette

By Lisa Maresca

From organizations to internships, Ryan Marquette L’22 has had the chance to explore different areas of law while pursuing a juris doctor at Syracuse University’s College of Law and a master of public administration through the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs—a three-year joint program that combines law and policy. In addition to his rigorous schoolwork, Marquette, a U.S. Army veteran and active member of the Army National Guard, also had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience last summer at the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic, the Children’s Rights & Family Law Clinic and the Criminal Defense Clinic, gaining exposure to three areas of law in which he previously had little experience.

Among his many responsibilities were advocating for people who were deserving of veterans benefits at the Syracuse VA Medical Center, defending clients in criminal defenses, and working on family law matters, all while under the supervision of a practicing attorney. “This experience definitely increased my confidence as a future practitioner of law. It was reassuring to see that I could research, interpret and apply the law in areas in which I had limited familiarity,” Marquette says. Beyond his time in the clinics, Marquette gained valuable experience when he interned as a researcher at Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, a law firm in Syracuse, where he recently accepted employment after graduation.

Though there were veteran clinics at other law schools Marquette looked at, he says no other school does it quite like Syracuse. “Their actions meet their words when they say that Syracuse University is the best place for veterans, and I am proud to be part of this community.”

Marquette was recently named the first ever law student representative to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees. “I humbly welcome the opportunity to be the voice for my fellow students and serve as their representative throughout the upcoming school year,” he says.

Taking the Lead

Marquette knew he wanted to attend Syracuse University because of its commitment to veterans. Between the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Marquette says Syracuse was the obvious choice. “Because of the amount of support that the University provides, it really facilitated an easy transition from the active-duty military into an advanced education. I simply left my network consisting of fellow service members and joined a new network consisting of military-affiliated students and faculty. I'm truly thankful for all those people that make that support possible.”

Outside of the classroom, Marquette stays busy as president of the College of Law’s Veterans Issues, Support Initiative and Outreach Network, where he brings guest speakers practicing veterans law and military law to campus, provides free legal services for veterans in the community, and hosts professional development opportunities. The group also holds a Veterans Day ceremony that complements the University’s larger ceremony.

For his efforts, Marquette was awarded Syracuse University’s 2021 Student Veterans Organization's Best for Vets Award, which is presented to the student-veteran who has done the most to help other student-veterans succeed, both on and off campus, and who has gone far above and beyond for his fellow students.

“I don't expect any recognition for the support I give to the veteran community, but at the same time, it was very well appreciated,” Marquette says. “It confirmed that I was making the community better by supporting our veterans.”

He was also president of the National Security Student Association, where he brought in practicing professionals in the field of national security law and policy to discuss emerging threats with students at the College of Law and the Maxwell School.

“One of many reasons why the College of Law is so great is we have the Institute for Security Policy and Law headquartered here and headed by Judge James E. Baker,” says Marquette. “Through his and other faculty members’ experience and connections, we are able to learn from their service in the national security field and bring in guest speakers currently serving in the profession. These opportunities expose students to modern and evolving issues concerning national security as they prepare to enter the workforce.” The institute is a joint effort between the College of Law and the Maxwell School that offers certificates of advanced study in national security and counterterrorism law, security studies, and postconflict reconstruction that prepare graduates to enter the fields of national security, homeland security, intelligence, military law and more.

A Proud Veteran for Life

Marquette recently celebrated 10 years of service in the military. He spent eight years with the U.S. Army and two years with the New York Army National Guard. He started his military career as an undergraduate at Niagara University in the Army ROTC before being commissioned as an infantry officer, deploying twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq.

Marquette, currently ranked a captain, continues to serve in the Army National Guard while in school, and he worked on the COVID-19 response as a member of the 27th Infantry Brigade. As the deputy operations officer, he served as the lead planner on a variety of tasks, from COVID-19 testing support to the distribution of health supplies. He’s grateful for the flexibility being in the Army National Guard provides to balance his schoolwork, job and student organization responsibilities.

As he heads into his final year of law school, Marquette is looking forward to his classes while also preparing for a two-year program called the Command and General Staff College, which he will begin as soon as he earns the rank of major later this year. This program is similar to a graduate school for officers and provides the training and education of a field grade officer in the U.S. Army.

He urges all students to pursue their passions just as he has. “Understand that you are just a snapshot in the history of Syracuse. During that snapshot, embrace all that the University has to offer and pursue every passion that you have and any interest that you have while you're here. Overcommit to things that you’re passionate about, because at the end of the day, if you’re doing what you love, then you’re not actually working.”


Can Colleges Deny Remote Teaching? Professor Arlene Kanter Speaks to Inside Higher Ed

Posted on Tuesday 8/17/2021
Arlene Kanter

Cornell Says No Remote Teaching as COVID Fears Persist

(Inside Higher Ed | Aug. 13, 2021) Cornell University said this week it will not consider any faculty requests to teach remotely instead of in person, not even from those seeking accommodations for chronic illnesses or disabilities.

Scholars questioned the legality and the wisdom of Cornell's stance in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to individuals with disabilities who are qualified to fulfill the “essential functions" of a given job ...

Arlene S. Kanter, a professor of law and director of the Disability Law & Policy Program at Syracuse University, agreed.

"The whole point of the ADA is to provide an opportunity for an employee to have an individualized, interactive conversation with their employer about the appropriateness of an accommodation," she said. "Blanket rules that would prohibit an individual with a disability from showing that in their individual case they're entitled to an accommodation would be disfavored by any court throughout the country."

Kanter also said that while employers do not have to provide an accommodation if doing so would present an "undue hardship," she thinks a university would be unsuccessful in arguing that allowing a professor with a documented disability to teach online would present such a hardship.

"For the past year and a half people have been teaching remotely," she said. "If they could do it then, why would it be an undue hardship now?"

Read the full article

Professor Nina Kohn Discusses the "Britney Effect" with CS Monitor

Posted on Tuesday 8/17/2021
Nina Kohn

The Britney effect: Conservatorships get scrutiny

(Christian Science Monitor | Aug. 13, 2021) Pop star Britney Spears made headlines when she spoke out against the legal authority her father wields over her finances and personal affairs in June, after 13 years of near-silence on the matter. Ms. Spears called her court-appointed conservatorship “abusive” and asked a judge to terminate the arrangement. Although the conservatorship remains in place, on Thursday, her father, Jamie Spears, agreed to step aside as conservator. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 29 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Her comments, which she reiterated in a July 14 court hearing, have shined a new light on conservatorships, reinvigorating long-standing calls for legal reform.

What are conservatorships, and is Ms. Spears’ typical?

Conservatorships, sometimes referred to as guardianships, involve the appointment of a legal guardian who manages a person’s finances, personal needs, or both. Typically, they are approved by court order after a person is found incompetent to manage their own affairs, such as a person diagnosed with dementia or with developmental disabilities.

Such arrangements are only supposed to be granted as a “last resort,” says Nina Kohn, a professor at Syracuse University who specializes in elder law. However, Ms. Kohn notes that courts often grant conservatorships without exploring all other options.

“Nobody should be subject to guardianship or conservatorship unless there is no other way to meet their needs,” she says. “For many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their needs can be met without stripping them of any legal rights" ...

“Seeing this happen to somebody [like] Ms. Spears really helps people understand how this arrangement can go wrong and why we need to be looking at our laws to figure out how we can make sure this doesn’t happen to other people,” says Ms. Kohn ...

Read the full article.

Library Services for Law Students

Posted on Monday 8/16/2021

Law Students:  Stop by the Law Library to find out about our collections, programs, and services.  Our Student Services web page and online Study Aids can help your studies!

Vaccines in the Workplace? Professor Doron Dorfman Cited by LAW360

Posted on Monday 8/16/2021
Doron Dorfman

Employers May Face Lawsuits From Pro-Vaccine Workers, Too

(Law360 | Aug. 12, 2021) Lawsuits by workers and students opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates have grabbed headlines recently, but as the more infectious delta variant explodes across the U.S., employers may also need to be on the lookout for safety and discrimination claims from workers who say a lack of vaccine requirements puts them at risk ...

... Syracuse University College of Law associate professor Doron Dorfman co-authored an article published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association arguing that immunocompromised people should be able to require people to wear masks around them at work as an ADA accommodation. Dorfman was somewhat skeptical, though, about whether that argument could be extrapolated to vaccines, which he called "more intrusive."

Courts would likely split on the reasonableness of a vaccine requirement as accommodation, Dorfman noted. On the one hand, the government and the CDC both recommend vaccines. On the other, some courts might side with individual autonomy ...

Read the full article.

Professor William C. Banks Speaks to Bloomberg on Trump Tax Returns Release

Posted on Monday 8/16/2021
William C. Banks

(Bloomberg Law | Aug. 4, 2021) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University College of Law, discusses two recent moves by the Biden Justice Department, issuing a memo calling for the release of former President Trump's tax returns and releasing handwritten notes showing Trump urging former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to back claims of voter fraud.

Listen to the podcast.

Workplace Harassment & Gov. Cuomo: Professor Emily Brown Speaks to Syracuse.com

Posted on Monday 8/9/2021
Emily Brown

Cuomo’s no stranger to scandal: Why is this moment different?

(Syracuse.com | Aug. 6, 2021) Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in an unfamiliar situation.

In the past, he’s won battles with unions, won over environmentalists and flatly denied any mistakes made involving Covid-19 deaths and nursing homes. Three years ago, he watched as one of his closest allies went to prison in a pay-to-play scheme.

Then Cuomo won a third term.

Even as women this spring began calling him out for acting inappropriately at work, the governor held his ground and stayed in office ...

... At their core, workplace harassment laws consider the impact on the worker, not the intent of the boss, Rusnak said, who works for Bond, Schoeneck & King and also leads workplace harassment training for clients. 

Emily Brown, a Syracuse University law professor and labor lawyer who has represented private and public workers and employers, agrees. “That’s the point,” she said. “Even if he fails to recognize it, it should not absolve him of responsibility.”

In New York, workplace harassment is about what a reasonable person would find more offensive than a petty slight or annoyance, Brown added. That’s a relatively new and lower standard that became law after Cuomo signed updated legislation in 2019 ...

Read the full article.

Professor Doron Dorfman Publishes on Masks v. Disability Accommodations in JAMA Health Forum

Posted on Monday 8/9/2021
Doron Dorfman
"Bans on COVID-19 Mask Requirements vs Disability Accommodations." JAMA Health Forum (July 2021). (With Mical Raz.)

As states lift mask mandates and align their public health guidelines with the newest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, a number of states have opted to implement outright bans on any attempts to require masking. While these bans run counter to the current CDC recommendations to continue masking at schools and during travel, these laws tap into deep-seated political beliefs about government mandates, a contested issue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law banning schools from implementing mask mandates1; Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting state governmental agencies from implementing mask requirements; and the Utah legislature passed a bill prohibiting mask requirements in schools, colleges, and universities.

These bans create a new conundrum for individuals who are immunocompromised. While they are encouraged to get vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus with 1 of the 3 available vaccines in the US, the vaccines have been less effective in individuals with different categories of immunosuppression. While most of the studies have examined immune response and not clinical efficacy, these 2 outcomes are likely associated. 

Accordingly, immunocompromised adults may be less fully protected from this virus. Although these individuals may not have required any specific prepandemic disability accommodations, they may now find themselves inadequately protected in their workplace where mask requirements are legally banned and there are no vaccine requirements ...

Read the full article.

Dean Boise Discusses Online Law Programs with Law.com

Posted on Monday 8/2/2021
Dean Craig M. Boise

Law Schools Tried Remote Courses and Liked It, But Don't Expect All-Online Programs

(Law.com | July 30, 2021) The pandemic forced a hastily arranged pivot to distance learning for law schools, but many said the experience showed them the benefits and feasibility of remote courses. And with law school faculties and the broader legal profession embracing remote working, law schools said they are considering adding additional remote courses to their curriculum post-pandemic.

However, an entirely remote J.D. program isn’t likely to happen anytime soon ...

... Indeed, while many law schools taught their courses via a video-conferencing platform during the pandemic, Syracuse University College of Law Dean Craig Boise noted a solely remote program requires additional planning and digital assets to provide live and asynchronous, on-demand self-guided content.

“The kind of online learning that all of the law schools did because of the pandemic was different,” he said. “It amounted to a lot of classes being held via Zoom. Some of it was good, but it’s not a fully designed [online] program.” Boise, whose law school is one of the few to offer an ABA-accredited hybrid J.D. program, said it takes at least 18 months to develop an asynchronous course ...

Read the full article.

Professor Doron Dorfman Featured on The Disability Equity Podcast

Posted on Friday 7/30/2021
Doron Dorfman

In part one of the Johns Hopkins University-produced podcast, Professor Doron Dorfman shares his work examining how ideologies, stigma, and stereotypes of disability impact policies, and the high stakes implications during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dorfman shares examples of how disability advocacy has been critical in combating these biases and changing policy. 

The second part covers Dorfman's body of empirical work on "the fear of the disability con." and the burden of proof for people with disabilities. He explains the importance of expanding understanding of disability law to combat these misperceptions and discusses how his work shows that disability equity must stem from the recognition that disability is contextual and fluid.

The Disability Equity Podcast (Part 1)

The Disability Equity Podcast (Part 2)

Online JDi Degree Gives Military Spouse Ability to Follow Her Passion

Posted on Thursday 7/29/2021
Tiffany Love

Syracuse University College of Law’s JDinteractive (JDi) program is the country’s first fully interactive online ABA-accredited law degree program. The program provides students with the ability to pursue their law degree from anywhere in the world. Military spouse Tiffany Love is a member of the first cohort of JDi students.

She was planning to attend law school in person in 2019 after her family returned from being stationed in Japan. While preparing for the Law School Admission Test, her husband’s military career forced her to change her plans. Instead of being sent back to the United States, her husband was ordered to serve in Germany for the next several years.

Love says the JDi program is flexible enough that she can complete the coursework from anywhere. Each class has a live and recorded component, and the program includes six in-person residencies. Students also participate in externships to earn academic credit while gaining real-world legal experience.

Love has recommended the program to people that have "noticed the Syracuse law memorabilia" on her desk. Several service members she has worked with have always wanted to attend or are considering law school, she says. “In my experience as a military spouse, living overseas in two different locations during this program, I would absolutely recommend and have recommended it to several soldiers that have come across my desk,” Love says. “The staff has always been so welcoming, with open arms.” (Watch Love speak on the benefits of the program).

One faculty member in particular has made a positive impression upon Love. She first met Beth Kubala, teaching professor and executive director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic in the College of Law, in January 2020, when she attended an in-person residency. Kubala was also stationed in Germany over the course of her military career, and Love says their social circles overlapped. “That’s where we connected and I’ve reached out at various times since then, as she has as well,” says Love. “It is two-fold, it makes me feel good about the university itself and its far-reaching benefits. It also makes me feel good about where I am with the people whom I work with. I’m still with a great group of people whose reputations continue to precede them. That’s been really neat.”

Love was looking into volunteering at the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic one semester, and Kubala made it a point to make sure they could connect. “We met over Zoom, and she was willing to be flexible with me,” says Love.

JDi has enabled Love to overcome the physical distance and work on her law degree. “I met with our constitutional law professor last summer. It was after work for me and it was morning for him, but they’ve been very flexible. Help, chat or support, they’re there and willing to find the time. The program is so portable that it doesn’t matter where I am and what time zone I’m in,” she says.

This type of training has certainly paid off for students like Love. She says her class experience has not been hampered by living thousands of miles from her classmates and professors. “In class we still get the same experience. We still get cold-called. We still get drilled for details about cases,” she says.

Community is a hallmark of the JDi program. “My study partner is in Philadelphia, and we try to meet once a week on Zoom and just connect and review if we need to,” says Love. “I still feel extremely connected to my classmates even though we’re very distant.”


Professor William C. Banks' Research on "Cyber Attribution" Published in International Law Studies

Posted on Thursday 7/29/2021
William C. Banks
"Cyber Attribution and State Responsibility." International Law Studies, Vol. 97 (2021). 

We might expect international law to specifically address cyber attribution requirements due to the significance of attribution in framing the legal responsibility of States and the boundaries of responsive actions by victim States. However, there is little international law of cyber attribution, and what law there is exists largely by implication. 

Likewise, there is only a murky and highly contested law of State responsibility that theoretically constrains the vast majority of State-sponsored cyberattacks. Because victim States cannot engage in countermeasures unless they attribute a cyberattack to a State, attribution can serve simultaneously to constrain and empower victim States. 

However, the lack of a common understanding about whether cyber attribution is required—much less what evidence suffices for attribution of a cyberattack for international law purposes—combined with the absence of consensus legal rules to limit cyber intrusions, has helped render the entire international legal response to cyberattacks weak and largely ineffective. 

Going forward, Professor William C. Banks argues that States and the international community should support public cyber attributions and address what legal or evidentiary standards must be met to attribute responsibility for a cyberattack to a State. A viable cyber attribution regime is a missing but key component for States to overcome the Wild West cyber environment that we live in.

Vincent H. Cohen appointed to D.C. Judicial Nominations Commission

Posted on Tuesday 7/27/2021

The D.C. Bar Board of Governors has unanimously approved the appointment of Vincent H. Cohen Jr., a partner at Dechert LLP, to the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission (JNC).

Cohen has a long history of service to the District. A former acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Cohen also served as that office’s principal assistant U.S. attorney for five years. He helped establish and expand its Cyber Unit and served as a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his professional accomplishments and is recognized as a leading attorney in the area of white-collar crime and government investigations.

Christopher J. Burns selected as Minnesota Super Lawyer

Posted on Tuesday 7/27/2021

Henson Efron is pleased to announce that Christopher J. Burns has been selected as a 2021 Minnesota Super Lawyer for his work in Estate Planning Trust and Probate. 

#FreeBritney and Conservatorship Abuse: Professor Nina Kohn Speaks to IB Times

Posted on Tuesday 7/27/2021
Nina Kohn

Why Conservatorships Like the One Controlling Britney Spears Can Lead to Abuse

(International Business Times | July 20, 2021) "I'm here to get rid of my dad and charge him with conservatorship abuse,” Britney Spears told a California court on July 14, 2021. She said that he was ruining her life, and in previous testimony she claimed that a team led by her father controlled her schedule, prevented her from having another baby and bullied her.

She may soon get her wish after the judge in the case said she could hire her own lawyer, former prosecutor Mathew Rosengart, who plans to file paperwork soon to end the conservatorship on her behalf. To terminate a conservatorship, California law simply requires the filing of a petition demonstrating that it is no longer required.

Spears’ case is unusual: Conservatorships are typically not imposed on someone who doesn’t have severe cognitive impairments, and Spears has toured the world, released four albums and earned US$131 million, all while deemed legally unfit to manage her finances or her own body ...

... While states have made some improvements, such as urging more autonomy for conservatees and less restrictive alternatives to conservatorships, reform advocates such as Syracuse law professor Nina Kohn say more is needed to protect the rights of individuals and prevent abuse, including stronger oversight ...

Read the full article.

College of Law Taps C-Suite Executive Lily Yan Hughes as New Head of Career Services

Posted on Monday 7/26/2021
Lily Yan Hughes

Syracuse University College of Law is pleased to announce that Lily Yan Hughes has joined the College as Assistant Dean for Career Services. In this role, Hughes will lead the implementation of an innovative, comprehensive job placement and career development strategy for law students, including expanding the College's national network of prospective placements and overseeing its robust externship program. Hughes begins in her position on July 26.

"I am thrilled that Lily has joined the College of Law to guide our students toward extraordinary legal careers," says Craig M. Boise, Dean and Professor of Law. "As a seasoned global C-Suite executive with a track record of successfully hiring and developing legal leaders for more than three decades, Lily will be a tremendous resource for our students and will raise the bar for our Office of Career Services. I am confident that her vast network of colleagues in the field and the College of Law’s own extraordinary alumni will prove a powerful combination for our students."

"I am excited to join Dean Boise’s team at the College of Law and to help him deliver on his vision for a modern, forward-looking, and effective career services operation for our students. The responsibilities of this position align with my deep experience in legal practice and professional development," says Hughes. "Coaching lawyers is a passion for me, and I look forward to helping Syracuse Law students fulfill their career aspirations. Moreover, my family has deep roots in Upstate New York, so I am doubly excited to be here."

As an executive expert in M&A, governance, corporate finance, and securities with experience working for highly regulated financial services companies and banks, real estate operating and development companies, and global technology companies, and as a member of the Global Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel, Hughes brings to the Office of Career Services fresh and timely leadership and global perspectives.

Most recently, Hughes was Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary for Arrow Electronics, Inc., a $29 billion, Fortune 150 company. At Arrow, she was a member of the Executive Committee and led the company’s global legal, trade risk, and compliance teams.

From 2015 to 2019, Hughes was Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary of Public Storage, an S&P 500 and FT Global 500 company. From 1997 to 2015, she served in roles of increasing responsibility, including her last role as Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Corporate, M&A, and Finance of Ingram Micro Inc., the world’s largest wholesale information technology and mobile devices distributor (and a former Fortune 100 company). Prior to that, Hughes was an Associate Director in the Property Management Department of nationwide leader in cancer treatment and research City of Hope, and a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. She began her legal career as an associate at McKenna, Conner & Cuneo in Los Angeles.

Hughes received the National Diversity Council Power 50 (Women in the C-Suite) award in both 2021 and 2020. She also received American Law Media’s National Women in the Law award as General Counsel of the Year for 2018. Most recently, AgendaThe Financial Times publication focused on board and governance—named Hughes to its Diversity 100 list, a directory of 100 board-ready director candidates from groups historically underrepresented in the boardroom. Hughes also was invited to join the DirectWomen Board Institute program for 2019. She received her J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law and holds a B.A. in Political Science from UC Berkeley.

"I am grateful to Bond, Schoeneck & King’s Virginia C. Robbins for her outstanding service as Interim Assistant Dean of Career Services and for providing essential advice during our search. I'm excited to work closely with Lily and our new Director of Externships and Career Services Dafni Kiritsis '97, who will report to Assistant Dean Hughes," says Dean Boise.

The Future of Conservatorship: BBI’s Jonathan Martinis featured in Time, WaPo, PBS, and WGBH

Posted on Thursday 7/22/2021
Jonathan Martinis

(Time | June 25, 2021) “Every time we shine a little bit of light, things get easier for everyone after that. Britney’s not just shining a light, she’s a huge spotlight,” says Martinis. “So maybe just maybe the conversation changes a little bit and the culture changes a little bit. And we say before guardianship, what else can we do?” 

“It’s a cultural failure,” says Jonathan Martinis, senior director for law and policy at Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute and a leading expert on alternatives to conservatorship.

Read the full article.

See also:

Professor Nina Kohn Discusses #FreeBritney with CBS News, Other Media

Posted on Wednesday 7/21/2021
Nina Kohn

What does Britney Spears need to do to end her conservatorship?

(CBS News | July 16, 2021) Britney Spears scored a major victory this week in the fight to end her conservatorship when a judge approved her bid to hire her own legal counsel for the first time since 2008. Spears, 39, has called the legal arrangement abusive and now faces the tough task of convincing the judge she no longer needs conservators to manage her career and finances ...

... The conservatorship was put into place in 2008, while Spears struggled with her mental health. In order for her to end it, she must prove she is capable of caring for herself, will be able to handle her wealth and will not be at risk if the arrangement is removed, said Nina Kohn, a law professor at Syracuse University who specializes in the civil rights of those with diminished mental capacity and elder law. 

"As a practical matter, what you're looking to show is that she can make decisions for herself," said Kohn. "Most of us don't make decisions in a vacuum. We look to other people we trust for help and support. So the fact that she might need support to make decisions doesn't mean that she can't make decisions for herself ...

Read the full article.

See also: 

Vaccines for Servicemembers? Professor Mark Nevitt Speaks to VOA News

Posted on Wednesday 7/21/2021
Mark P. Nevitt

Vaccine Mandates Prompt Sharp Legal Debate

(VOA News | July 17, 2021) With the rate of Americans fully vaccinated for COVID-19 stalling at close to 50%, a growing number of U.S. public schools, colleges and private companies have turned to a controversial legal tool to get more people immunized: vaccine mandates.

Nearly 600 colleges and universities will require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, while some public school districts are mandating teachers and administrators to provide proof of vaccinations. Many private businesses have also announced vaccination requirements for employees.

With experts saying 70% or more of Americans need to be vaccinated or immune to COVID in order for the country to achieve "herd immunity," mandatory vaccination has emerged as a weapon in the fight against the deadly coronavirus variants ...

... President Joe Biden pledged that he would not make vaccinations mandatory in the military. However, that could change depending on circumstances, and he could waive an "informed consent requirement" for members of the military, according to Mark Nevitt of the Syracuse University College of Law ...

Read the full story.

Trump's Secret Subpoenas: Professor William C. Banks Discusses with Bloomberg Law

Posted on Thursday 7/15/2021
William C. Banks

Trump DOJ Secret Subpoenas Crossed Line

(Bloomberg Law | July 15, 2021) National security law expert William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University College of Law, discusses the controversy over revelations the Justice Department under former President Donald Trump had secretly subpoenaed records from House Democrats, former White House counsel Don McGahn and members of the media.

Listen to the podcast.

Britney Spears' Conservatorship Latest: Professor Nina Kohn Joins Morning Edition

Posted on Wednesday 7/14/2021
Nina Kohn

Britney Spears' Conservatorship Is Back In Court: Who's Who, And What They Want

(NPR Morning Edition | July 14, 2021) On Wednesday afternoon, Britney Spears' conservatorship case will be back in front of a judge at Los Angeles Superior Court. This is the first return to court after Spears herself spoke to the judge last month, pleading for her 13-year conservatorship to end.

Wednesday's hearing involves a host of parties. The list of what they are putting before Judge Brenda Penny is pretty long, and in some cases the participants are at distinct odds with each other. In a word: It's complicated. Here's a who's who of who's involved and what they're looking for in this court hearing ...

Listen to the segment.

Faculty, Staff Receive Center for Disability Resources Honors

Posted on Wednesday 7/14/2021
College of Law

Every year, the Center for Disability Resources (CDR) recognizes faculty and staff members who are nominated for their work in advocating for students and supporting the center in its mission to empower students, enhance equity, and provide a platform for innovation and inclusion.

In a year of a pandemic that created challenges for access, the center received 67 nominations—the highest ever—from students who wanted to acknowledge the faculty or staff member who made a difference in their academic lives.

Among the honorees are:

  • Professor Richard Risman, nominated for ensuring all students have the tools and skills needed to succeed and encouraging students through his actions and words.
  • Joel Whitney, Director of Information Technology, nominated for his willingness to work with students with accommodation needs at all hours.

Read the full nominations statements at the CDR Recognition Ceremony webpage.  

Bonhomme Richard Fire Inquiry: Professor Mark Nevitt Discusses with Military.com

Posted on Wednesday 7/14/2021
Mark P. Nevitt

One Year After the Bonhomme Richard Fire, Questions Remain Unanswered

(Military Times | July 12, 2021) ... There could be several reasons for the silence and delay, according to Mark Nevitt, a former aviator and judge advocate attorney in the Navy, who spoke with Military.com about the investigation. Nevitt is now a professor at the Syracuse University College of Law.

Aside from the usual privacy and national security redactions, Nevitt said that pending criminal charges can delay an investigation.

"If you have a recommendation that is related to training, to readiness, to how watch is done, you don't have the same sort of criminal law due process concerns associated if [you] charge a Navy sailor with a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice," he explained.

Nevitt also noted that the Navy may have already taken some administrative action, "which could be non-judicial punishment," away from the public eye.

"Firing people ... removing people from the watchstand, or having people administratively separated for some kind of underlying administrative misconduct" are all things that could have already occurred, he said.

"It seems likely to me that, if there is a formal court-martial, that would take place following the completion of the investigation and the endorsements by the [Pacific Fleet] commander," Nevitt said.

Jeff Houston, a spokesman for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS, said that its investigation into the fire remains ongoing. Houston added that no charges have been filed at this time.

"Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS does not comment on or confirm details relating to ongoing investigations," he said in a statement.

More broadly, Nevitt argues that the wait is understandable given the scope of the incident ...

Read the full article.

Professor Mark Nevitt Publishes "Is Climate Change a Threat to International Peace and Security?"

Posted on Wednesday 7/14/2021
Mark P. Nevitt
"Is Climate Change a Threat to International Peace and Security?" Michigan Journal of International Law, 42 (2021).

The climate-security century is here, writes Professor Mark Nevitt. Both the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the US Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) recently sounded the alarm on climate change’s “super-wicked” and destabilizing security impacts. 

Scientists and security professionals alike reaffirm what we are witnessing with our own eyes: The earth is warming at a rapid rate; climate change affects international peace and security in complex ways; and the window for international climate action is slamming shut.

Disability's Workplace Minefields: Professor Doron Dorfman Speaks to Vice Media's Refinery29

Posted on Tuesday 7/13/2021
Doron Dorfman

My Disability Is Obvious In Job Interviews. Is That A Bad Thing?

(Refinery 29/Vice Media Group | July 13, 2021) “So… how does the winter weather affect you?” I sat across from the person interviewing me for a job I really wanted, totally unsure of how to respond.

It was the spring of 2016, and I had applied for more than 100 jobs in my chosen field of journalism. I was about to finish graduate school, and I knew that I needed to be as open and flexible as possible given the dearth of opportunities in media. I’m also physically disabled and wear a tracheostomy tube around my neck, which helps me breathe. My disability is visible; it’s usually one of the first things a person notices when they meet me ...

... So was the question I got from the editor-in-chief about winter weather fair game?

“I don’t think so, because it’s not a question about the type of accommodation for the interview or the job,” said Doron Dorfman, an associate professor at Syracuse University College of Law, who specializes in disability law and teaches employment discrimination. “I also don’t really see it as job-related or considered a business necessity. If it’s a desk job, why is the weather so important?” ...

... For some people, though, disclosing a disability is necessary for a job interview in order to request accommodations, Dorfman said. Employers can’t provide them if they don’t know. But those with invisible disabilities may be asked to submit documentation proving their disability status and need for accommodations — which can indirectly feed into what Dorfman called a “fear of the disability con,” or the ableist notion that disabled people are faking in order to gain some unfair advantage.

On the other hand, talking about disability can also help destigmatize it. Once I started honing my expertise as a disability reporter, I found it easier to talk about my own disability during job interviews because it helped me explain why my work was so strong: I had direct experience with the community I covered. Occasionally I’d get questions about my disability as it related to my career, but Dorfman said these were less likely to be an ADA violation given the context. They also hit differently than the winter-weather question, which made me uncomfortable and lowered my self-confidence ...

Read the full article.

South Korean Radio Asks Professor Mary Szto About Anti Asian Violence in the US

Posted on Tuesday 7/13/2021
Mary Szto

Professor Mary Szto was recently interviewed by the Seoul, Korea, radio station TBS eFM for a “This Morning with Henry Shinn” segment called “Overview of the History of Discrimination and Violence Against the Asian American Community.”

Listen to the podcast.

What's Next for Britney's Conservatorship? Professor Nina Kohn Speaks to NPR

Posted on Tuesday 7/13/2021
Nina Kohn

Spears' Case Goes Back To Court—Here's What Could Be Next For Her Conservatorship

(NPR | July 12, 2021) Wednesday is set to be an important day in court for Britney Spears. Since her searing open testimony describing life under her conservatorship, there've been some big changes to her legal situation. A wealth management company, Bessemer Trust, which had been set to take over as co-conservator for Spears' estate, requested to resign. Her court-appointed attorney Sam Ingham also requested to resign, "effective upon the appointment of new court-appointed counsel." Her mother, Lynne Spears, has also requested that Britney Spears be allowed her own private lawyer ...

... Nina Kohn, a law professor at Syracuse University who specializes in elder law, says that the Spears case has exposed some of the national problems with guardianship and conservatorship, including "how difficult it can be to get your rights restored if you've been judged incapacitated," she says ...

... From there, Spears would have to show proof that she can take care of herself both personally and financially. Which is the hard part — for instance, how do you show you've been able to pay your bills when you haven't been allowed to pay your bills? Kohn says that states like California put the burden of proof on the individual. "And that's especially a problem because the person subject to conservatorship or guardianship is already disadvantaged by the bias and stigma created by the initial determination that they lack capacity," she said ...

Read the full article.

License to Steal? Professor Nina Kohn Discusses Power of Attorney Abuses with LAW360

Posted on Monday 7/12/2021
Nina Kohn

'More Art' Than Science: Incapacity Findings Prone To Abuse

(Law 360 | July 12, 2021) ... Power of attorney — a document by which a person can sign over the right to manage personal, health care, and financial decisions to an agent — is considered an important legal tool in life planning. It can go into effect immediately, or be "springing" — triggered by some event, like a finding of incapacity — as was the case with Halpin. A grantor can choose someone they know and trust and put some limitations on their powers, according to Nina Kohn.

"Powers of attorney can be a wonderful tool for promoting self-determination, for making sure people's affairs will be handled if they need help, and for avoiding guardianship," she said. "At the same time, they are extraordinarily powerful and can be a helpful tool for unscrupulous agents. The problems are so significant, some have referred to them as 'a license to steal'" ...

Read the full article

Peter K. Mattar joins William Mattar, P.C.

Posted on Monday 7/12/2021

William Mattar law offices is pleased to welcome William Mattar’s son, Peter Mattar, Esq., to the firm’s attorney staff. As a personal injury attorney, Peter will focus on helping people injured in motor vehicle accidents.   

Peter Mattar attended Binghamton University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 2021, where he graduated cum laude. He is admitted to practice law in New York.     

Just like his father, Peter Mattar is passionate about making a difference in the community and helping clients whose lives have been severely impacted after a car accident. He has watched the firm grow over the years and is able to step in with the passion for helping people that the firm is synonymous with. In speaking about why he decided to become a lawyer, Peter said, “Becoming a lawyer is in my blood. I have multiple lawyers in my family, and I’m a third-generation attorney. I grew up hearing stories from my family about how they helped their clients deal with very difficult issues. Those stories resonated with me. I became a lawyer so that I could continue that tradition of service.” 

Jade M. Rodriguez joins Barclay Damon

Posted on Monday 7/12/2021
Jade M. Rodriguez

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Jade Rodriguez has been admitted to the New York State Bar. The former law clerk is now an associate at the firm. Rodriguez is a member of the Commercial Litigation and White Collar & Government Investigations Practice Areas. She graduated from Syracuse University College of Law, and her experience includes serving as a BellCornerstone, LLC legal analyst and a Securities Arbitration and Consumer law clinic student attorney. She is based in the firm’s Syracuse office.

Rising 3L Hayley Rousselle Takes Second Place in AEJMC Writing Competition

Posted on Monday 7/12/2021
Hayley Rouselle

Rising third year law student Hayley Rousselle has won second place in a writing competition organized by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Law and Policy Division, the accreditation group for communications and journalism schools and colleges. Rouselle will present her paper—“Social Media and the Economy of Hate.”—on an Aug. 4, 2021, panel during AEJMC's virtual conference.  

"Hayley wrote her paper for my Media Law 737 class last fall and we worked pretty closely getting it ready for the competition," says Professor Roy Gutterman L'00, Director of the Tully Center for Free Speech. "The law division has some of the top media law scholars in the country. The competition is pretty tight."

Rouselle explains that her paper addresses Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grants social media companies immunity in making good faith efforts to regulate content on their platforms. 

"However, this legal norm does nothing to encourage transparent, consistent, or effective regulation of harmful content such as hate speech," Rouselle observes. "Instead, Section 230 has left social media companies in a position where they can go unchecked in profiting from the harmful content they often claim to prohibit." Her article examines how Congress can amend Section 230 to best incentivize social media companies to enforce their policies that prohibit hate speech.

Margaret Talt joins Barclay Damon

Posted on Monday 7/12/2021
Margaret E. Talt

Barclay Damon is pleased to announce Margaret Talt has been admitted to the New York State Bar. The former law clerk is now an associate at the firm. Talt is a member of the Real Estate and Financial Institutions & Lending Practice Areas. She graduated from Syracuse University College of Law, and her experience includes serving as a Barclay Damon summer associate and a DJ & JA Cirando, PLLC law clerk. She is based in the firm’s Syracuse office. 

Harvard Journal of Legislation Publishes Professor Nina Kohn's "Legislating Supported Decision-Making"

Posted on Friday 7/9/2021
Nina Kohn
"Legislating Supported Decision-Making." Harvard Journal of Legislation, Vol 58, No. 2 (2021)

Supported decision-making is a process by which individuals who might otherwise be unable to make their own decisions do so with help from others. It has the potential to transform the lives of individuals with cognitive and intellectual disabilities by enabling them to function as legal actors, and not merely legal subjects. 

Fueled by this promise, by mounting concerns about guardianship, and by rhetoric surrounding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, states are rapidly adopting statutes that purport to enable and promote supported decision-making and advance the rights of persons with disabilities. 

Professor Nina Kohn's article shows how these statutes typically do neither. Rather, the statutes limit the rights of individuals with disabilities and place them at increased risk of exploitation. The article further shows that the wide gap between the concept of supported decision-making and its actual implementation in state legislation is the result of a confluence of political agendas, but that an alternative, person-centered approach is essential if supported decision-making is actually to empower individuals with disabilities. 

Finally, Kohn outlines five concrete legislative approaches states could adopt—separately or in combination—to encourage supported decision-making that will actually advance the rights of persons with disabilities and reduce restrictive guardianships.

Axios Asks Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 for Comment on Trump's Social Media Lawsuits

Posted on Thursday 7/8/2021
Roy Gutterman

Experts say Trump's social media lawsuits are likely doomed

(Axios | July 8, 2021) Legal experts and First Amendment scholars say former President Donald Trump's class-action lawsuits announced Wednesday against Facebook, Twitter, Google, and their CEOs are unlikely to go far ...

... The central argument made by the plaintiff is that social media platforms are "state actors," and thus should be bound by the First Amendment's free speech protections. First Amendment experts quickly dismissed the claim as destined to fail.

"The First Amendment simply protects citizens from government censorship," said Syracuse University associate professor Roy Gutterman. "Social media platforms exercise great power, but they are not a branch of government" ...

... The bottom line: "This is not the first time social media companies have been faced with these arguments, and in the past, they have won,” said Gutterman.

Read the full article.

Britney Spears' Conservatorship: The New Yorker Speaks with BBI's Jonathan Martinis

Posted on Wednesday 7/7/2021
Jonathan Martinis

Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Nightmare

(The New Yorker | July 3, 2021) On June 22nd, Britney Spears’s management team started getting nervous. Spears, who is thirty-nine, has spent the past thirteen years living under a conservatorship, a legal structure in which a person’s personal, economic, and legal decision-making power is ceded to others. Called a guardianship in most states, the arrangement is intended for people who cannot take care of themselves. Since the establishment of Spears’s conservatorship, she has released four albums, headlined a global tour that grossed a hundred and thirty-one million dollars, and performed for four years in a hit Las Vegas residency. Yet her conservators, who include her father, Jamie Spears, have controlled her spending, communications, and personal decisions ...

... According to Jonathan Martinis, the senior director for law and policy at [the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University], one of the most dangerous aspects of guardianships is the way that they prevent people from getting their own legal counsel. “The rights at stake in guardianship are analogous to the rights at stake in criminal cases,” Martinis said. “Britney could have been found holding an axe and a severed head, saying ‘I did it,’ and she still would’ve had the right to an attorney. So, under guardianship, you don’t have the same rights as an axe murderer" ...

... The idea that Spears needs this conservatorship to function is, to some degree, self-reinforcing. In that respect, experts said, her case is common. Martinis, the disability-rights lawyer, said that many guardianships can prove inescapable, which is why they are vulnerable to abuse. In the extreme cases, he said, “the strategy is isolate, medicate, liquidate. You isolate them, medicate them to keep them quiet, liquidate the assets.” If a conservatee functions well under conservatorship, it can be framed as proof of the arrangement’s necessity; if a conservatee struggles under conservatorship, the same conclusion can be drawn. 

And if a conservatee gets out, and stumbles into crisis or manipulation—a likelihood increased by time spent formally disempowered—this, too, might reinforce the argument for their prior legal restraints. “Our mistakes make us who we are, and teach us who we can be,” Martinis said. “Without bad choices, we can’t be wholly human. And with the best of intentions, we say to people with disabilities: we’ll keep you from ever making a mistake.” He added, “Should Britney get out, just watch. The first mistake she makes, fingers will wag, and people will say this would never have happened if she were under guardianship" ...

Read the full article.

Professor Greg Germain Addresses NYS Marijuana Laws with Syracuse.com

Posted on Tuesday 7/6/2021
Greg Germain

Can you give marijuana as a gift under NY’s legal pot law?

(syracuse.com | July 2, 2021) A watch. Jewelry. A gift card. Dinner out.

A joint?

With recreational marijuana now legal in New York, some of you have been wondering whether you can wrap your weed up and give it to your friends and family as a gift for their birthdays, to thank them for babysitting or just for being generally nice people.

What about a business or vendor at an event that wants to give out free samples? ...

... Anyone with a cannabis license is specifically barred from making any gifts, said Greg Germain, a professor at Syracuse University’s College of Law. They’re also not allowed to sell marijuana to people they know are going to redistribute it as a gift.

It’s possible the gift issue could be addressed at some point by New York’s Cannabis Control Board, which will have broad power to set rules and regulations on legal marijuana, Germain wrote in an email ...

Read the full article.

Professor Suzette Meléndez Named Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion

Posted on Tuesday 7/6/2021
Suzette Meléndez

Dean Craig M. Boise has appointed Professor Suzette Meléndez as Syracuse University College of Law’s new Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion. In this position, Professor Meléndez will work with Dean Boise and across the entire College to lead ongoing efforts to foster an inclusive learning community that seeks to address and eradicate racism and other forms of discrimination, that values and builds on Syracuse Law’s diversity, and that equips law students with the cultural competence necessary to function effectively and ethically in 21st century legal practice.

In doing so, Professor Meléndez will draw and continue upon her work as Chair of the Committee on Inclusion Initiatives, which in light of its permanence and composition will now be known as the Inclusion Council. The Inclusion Council will continue to meet regularly to evaluate the climate at the College of Law and to make recommendations for actions to create and sustain an inclusive learning community. 

Most recently, the Inclusion Council, together with the Curriculum Committee, chaired by Professor Paula Johnson, has advanced Syracuse Law’s new three-pronged Cultural Competency Curriculum; provided a series of professional development opportunities and resources for our faculty, staff, and students; and advocated for the creation of the Hon. Sandra L. Townes, L’76 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Student Resource Center. The Council’s work has also represented the law school’s investment in anti-discriminatory initiatives across campus.

In addition to her new duties, Professor Meléndez will continue her teaching in the area of Family Law.

Professor David Driesen's New Book Analyzes "The Specter of Dictatorship"

Posted on Friday 7/2/2021
The Specter of Dictatorship
The Specter of Dictatorship: Judicial Enabling of Presidential Power (Stanford UP, 2021) 

In The Specter of Dictatorship, University Professor David Driesen analyzes the chief executive's role in the democratic decline of Hungary, Poland, and Turkey and argues that an insufficiently constrained presidency is one of the most important systemic threats to democracy. 

Driesen urges the United States to learn from the mistakes of these failing democracies. Their experiences suggest, Driesen shows, that the US Supreme Court must eschew its reliance on and expansion of the "unitary executive theory" and apply a less deferential approach to presidential authority, invoked to protect national security and combat emergencies, than it has in recent years. 

Ultimately, Driesen argues that concern about loss of democracy should play a major role in jurisprudence, because loss of democracy can prove irreversible. As autocracy spreads throughout the world, maintaining our democracy has become an urgent matter.

Abstract: Chapter 5—The Specter of Dictatorship: Poland, Hungary and Turkey

This chapter, the heart of the book, examines the role of executive power in undermining democracy in Poland, Hungary, and Turkey. 

In all three cases, creation of centralized control over the executive branch of government paved the way for autocracy, leading to politicized use of prosecution to undermine political opponents, shrinking of the media available to dissenters, and tilting the electoral playing field. 

This analysis focuses primarily on centralization of control over prosecution, media authorities, and electoral commissions. In Hungary and Turkey, abuse of emergency powers accelerated the establishment of autocracy.

These countries' autocrats eroded democracy with the support of a political party enjoying the support of at least a substantial minority of voters. Party members in Parliament helped destroy democracy by voting in lockstep fashion to support "reforms" undermining independent agencies and prosecutorial independence.

Carly J. Cazer joins Hodgson Russ LLP

Posted on Friday 7/2/2021

Hodgson Russ is pleased to announce that Carly J. Cazer has joined the firm’s Buffalo office as an associate. A member of the Trusts & Estates Practice, Carly assists clients on a wide range of estates and trusts matters including planning for complex estates, tax planning, and counseling fiduciaries and beneficiaries on estate and trust administration, including contested matters. Carly earned her BA at Emerson College and her JD at Syracuse University’s College of Law. During law school, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Jonathan W. Feldman in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. She also spent two years in the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veteran’s Legal Clinic as a student attorney where she represented veterans seeking to obtain VA benefits, and appeared before the Court of Federal Claims where she defended a client’s claim against the Department of Justice.

Philippe Solages nominated to NYS Court of Claims

Posted on Friday 7/2/2021
Philippe Solages

Philippe Solages, Law/MPA 2000, was nominated by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the New York State Court of Claims on May 25, 2021.  Philippe Solages was confirmed by the New York State Senate as a Judge to the New York State Court of Claims on June 8, 2021. Solages is a 2000 graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law.  Philippe Solages is also a 2000 graduate of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.  While at the Maxwell School, Philippe earned a Master of Public Administration degree.   

Tyson E. Hubbard named Top Lawyer

Posted on Friday 7/2/2021
Tyson E. Hubbard

Downey Brand, a prominent law firm with offices in Sacramento, San Francisco, Stockton, and Reno, is delighted to announce that Tyson E. Hubbard was named a Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine for his work in Estate Planning & Probate. Hubbard, a partner with the firm, is an experienced litigator who focuses on trust and estate disputes. Tyson's clients rely upon him to steer an efficient and effective path. He draws from more than a decade of litigation experience across a wide range of matters, as well as from his personal experience as a trustee of a family trust.

WaPo Speaks to Professor Roy Gutterman L'00 About Dismissal of Dominion Lawsuit

Posted on Thursday 7/1/2021
Roy Gutterman

Trump allies ask judge to dismiss lawsuits over false claims that Dominion voting machines were rigged

(The Washington Post | June 24, 2021) President Donald Trump’s former lawyers and allies urged a federal judge in Washington on Thursday to throw out a trio of billion-dollar defamation lawsuits filed by Dominion Voting Systems over false claims that the company’s technology was used to rig the 2020 presidential election.

Dominion says the falsehoods spread by former Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani, in addition to MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell, amounted to a “viral disinformation campaign” that damaged the company’s reputation and its business and led to death threats against employees ...

... Whether the lawsuits are successful will hinge in part on Dominion’s ability to show that false statements, which Dominion says were presented as fact, harmed the company and that the three were acting with “actual malice” in making their remarks. The high burden is on Dominion to demonstrate that Trump’s allies knew their statements were false or made with a “reckless disregard for the truth.”

That is not an easy standard to meet, according to Roy Gutterman, a First Amendment expert and director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University’s law school.

“It’s more than just being irresponsible. It’s really ignoring information,” he said ...

Read the full article.

Professor Shubha Ghosh Addresses "Universities as Engines of Development"

Posted on Tuesday 6/29/2021
Shubha Ghosh
"Universities as Engines of Development," Law and Development Review (forthcoming 2021).

The Bayh–Dole Act was enacted in the United States in 1980 to promote economic development and growth at regional and national levels. A key engine is research generated within universities. 

Professor Shubha Ghosh addresses the question of how universities can serve as engines of development. Drawing on Cooter and Shaeffer’s work on law and development, specifically what they call the double trust problem, this article shows how the Bayh–Dole Act was justified as resolving the double trust problem arising from lack of property rights in university research.

This article presents the argument that this goal of the Bayh–Dole Act ignores how universities solve another dimension of the double trust problem, namely the generation of human capital. 

Ghosh examines the theoretical justifications for the Bayh–Dole Act and universities and the empirical policy literature assessing university patenting and commercialization in the United States, South Africa, and India.

Professor David Driesen: Justices' FHFA Ruling Is Small Step in a Dangerous Direction

Posted on Tuesday 6/29/2021
David Driesen

(Law 360 | June 24, 2021) In Collins v. Yellen, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated for-cause removal protection for the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. In doing so, it sidestepped statutory restrictions on lawsuits brought by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders and encouraged private parties to bring litigation aimed at weakening the independence of federal agencies.

President Joe Biden immediately took advantage of the ruling by dismissing the director of the FHFA, a Trump administration holdover.[1]

This litigation, however, appears unlikely to produce any relief to the government-sponsored enterprises' shareholders, who had brought suit. They had challenged the FHFA's third amendment to its preferred stock purchase agreement, which required the GSEs to pay surplus profits to the U.S. Department of the Treasury rather than private shareholders in light of the Treasury Department's previous bailouts of the GSEs.

By the time of oral argument, the director — now removed — had invalidated the third amendment.

A Very Liberal Approach to Justiciability

The Supreme Court has evinced a great deal of interest in deciding removal issues in recent years, allowing ideological plaintiffs and real ones to challenge for-cause removal protection even in cases where the president has not sought to remove the director of an agency, and where no case or controversy exists between the principal parties.

Indeed, both in Collins and its immediate predecessor, Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,[2] the court appointed an amicus to litigate the merits of the controversy, because the named parties were not adverse to each other with respect to the merits …

Read the full article.

The Field Is Set for the 2021 Syracuse National Trial Competition

Posted on Monday 6/28/2021
College of Law

Syracuse University College of Law is pleased to announce that the field is set for the Third Annual Syracuse National Trial Competition, which will take place completely online from Oct. 14-17, 2021. 

SNTC is an invitational tournament open to all ABA-accredited law schools. Twenty-four schools have been selected to compete based on the quality of a school’s advocacy program and on wide geographic diversity. 

The schools are:

  • American University Washington College of Law
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
  • Fordham University School of Law
  • George Washington University Law School
  • Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law
  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • Pepperdine Caruso School of Law
  • Samford University Cumberland School of Law
  • St. John’s School of Law
  • St. Mary’s University School of Law
  • Suffolk University Law School
  • Temple University Beasley School of Law
  • UCLA School of Law
  • University at Buffalo School of Law
  • University of Akron School of Law
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law
  • University of California, Hastings School of Law
  • University of Illinois Chicago School of Law
  • University of Illinois College of Law
  • University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
  • University of South Carolina School of Law
  • Washington University School of Law
  • Western State College of Law at Westcliff University

The tournament provides students with the opportunity to develop and display the skills of a trial lawyer. Students will conduct opening statements, direct and cross-examinations, and closing arguments. The advocates will be judged by distinguished members of the bench and bar from all over the country. Individual awards will be given for top student performances.

More details can be found at the SNTC webpage.

For more information, contact the tournament directors, Joanne Van Dyke (315.383.3344 or mjvesq@aol.com) or Todd Berger (315.443.4582 or taberger@law.syr.edu).